Sickest Presidents: The Winner

To recap: The Candidates

Andrew Jackson

Woodrow Wilson

Franklin D. Roosevelt

John F. Kennedy

Which candidate "wins" the prize title of "America's Sickest President?"

Remember we are judging on two axes or prongs: The degree of debility and the impact on the presidency.

Fourth Runner up: Andrew Jackson. Jackson had a lifetime of very significant medical problems, but it's unclear if they had much impact on his presidency or indeed, were that much worse than what many people endured in the paleo-apocalyptic landscape of America in the beginning of the 19th century.

Third Runner up: FDR. Although his health problems had profound effects at the end of his presidency, he was active and vigorous for most of the earlier years, until his cerebral vascular disease finally reached the point of killing him.

So now we are down to our final two. Will it be Kennedy or Wilson? 

Over a life time, Kennedy was definitely sicker than Wilson, which takes some doing, as Wilson was not the healthiest of men. However Kennedy was terminally ill before he was thirty and then added a painful back condition so severe that he was willing to risk death to have surgery, and was probably going to end up in a wheelchair.

Historians have spent considerable time and effort debating just how much Kennedy's health concerns influenced his presidential performance. Common sense would suggest they must have had some effect, if only due to the massive amounts of mind-altering chemicals he ingested in an effort to treat them.

But...but, at least he was not in a coma for a significant amount of time while he was president. And with that we end up with our winner.

Woodrow Wilson, you are our sickest president!


Doc Contrarian


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