Media in tow, Obama takes stock of U.S. health care
ST. LOUIS – The doctor was in on Tuesday, as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made the rounds at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the battleground state of Missouri with a cardiac nurse.
Obama, hoping to highlight his health care proposal and show local voters a more personal side, visited patients, pushed a cart and conferred with nurses during a two-hour stint in the hospital’s cardiac unit.
His guide for the early-morning shift was nurse Kate Marzluf, 26, who good-naturedly answered his questions and tried to ignore a swarming media contingent while handing out medicine and checking on patients.
At one point, as the nurse filled him in on her tasks, Obama said it “makes me faint just to think about it. You’re not drawing any blood, are you?”
During later check-ups, two patients reported sharply higher blood pressure than normal. Obama told the first patient he sympathized.
“When reporters are around me, my blood pressure goes up too,” he said, smiling. At the next stop, he was even more direct.
“The press has the same effect on me. They get my blood boiling,” Obama said. He smiled again.
Later, Obama praised Marzluf and the hospital staff.
“If there is one thing that is right about health care in this country, it’s the extraordinary men and women who are entering the medical profession,” he told reporters.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama on campaign plane June 3)