Dr. Sean Conley says Trump's health is 'improving': Who is the president's physician?

White House physician Sean Conley said Saturday the president's symptoms are "now resolving and improving" but drew scrutiny for his varied responses to questions about Donald Trump's health.

During a press conference at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he told reporters that President Trump is "doing very well," noting that he was without a fever for 24 hours.

He repeatedly said Trump was not on oxygen Saturday but did not answer several questions about whether he had received it at any point previously. White House officials declined to answer questions from USA TODAY about whether oxygen was administered.

Conley also told reporters that Trump was "just 72 hours into the diagnosis now," a statement that may have contradicted the White House's official statement of when Trump tested positive for COVID-19.

Conley later issued a memo saying that he meant "day three" of the diagnosis.

The initial statement, if taken literally, would have put the president's diagnosis to Wednesday morning, before he traveled to Minnesota for a rally Wednesday and to New Jersey for a fundraiser Thursday.

More: Trump's condition was 'very concerning' over past day, White House official says on day of mixed messaging

Here's what to know about Conley:

What is Conley's role as Physician to the President?

Conley is the Physician to the President, an appointed role responsible for serving the medical needs of President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other White House staffers.

In 2018, he was selected as the acting White House physician, replacing Retired Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who was nominated by Trump for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In May that year, he was officially appointed for the position by President Trump.

White House physician Sean P. Conley gave an update on President Trump's health from Walter Reed hospital, saying he was "doing very well."
White House physician Sean P. Conley gave an update on President Trump's health from Walter Reed hospital, saying he was "doing very well."

Conley had OK'd Trump to take controversial hydroxychloroquine

The White House physician had not drawn any media attention until earlier this year, when Trump made an umprompted announcement in May that he had taken hydroxychloroquine despite repeated public warnings from the Food and Drug Administration against using the anti-malarial to ward off COVID-19.

Conley issued a memo approving Trump’s use of hydroxycholoroquine, writing “the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.” It is unclear if Conley had explicitly prescribed the medication.

What's Conley's background?

Conley is a doctor of osteopathic medicine — commonly known as a DO — as opposed to an MD, or doctor of medicine. Both are licensed physicians.

The key distinction is that DOs prioritize osteopathic, holistic approaches to medicine, as opposed to more “traditional” MDs, according to UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine.

He is a native of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and went to Notre Dame University. He attended the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Medical School.

Conley previously served with the International Security Assistance Force as a lieutenant commander, working in Afghanistan as the head of a NATO trauma unit.

Contributing: Chris English, Bucks County Courier Times; John Fritze, Michael Collins and David Jackson, USA TODAY; Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sean Conley: Who is Trump's Physician to the President? What to know