Trump doctor Harold Bornstein says bodyguard, lawyer ‘raided’ his office, took medical files
Bornstein said he felt “raped” after White House aide Keith Schiller and lawyer Alan Garten showed up unannounced and took Trump’s files.
In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man, showed up at the office of Trump’s New York doctor without notice and took all the president’s medical records.
The incident, which Dr. Harold Bornstein described as a “raid,” took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had prescribed a hair growth medicine for the president for years.
In an exclusive interview in his Park Avenue office, Bornstein told NBC News that he felt “raped, frightened and sad” when Keith Schiller and another “large man” came to his office to collect the president’s records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump’s bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.
“They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes. It created a lot of chaos,” said Bornstein, who described the incident as frightening.
A framed 8-by-10 photo of Bornstein and Trump that had been hanging on the wall in the waiting room now lies flat under a stack of papers on the top shelf of Bornstein’s bookshelf. Bornstein said the men asked him to take it off the wall.
Bornstein said he was not given a form authorizing the release of the records and signed by the president known as a HIPAA release — which is a violation of patient privacy law. A person familiar with the matter said there was a letter to Bornstein from then-White House doctor Ronny Jackson, but didn’t know if there was a release form attached.
“If Ronny Jackson was the treating doctor, and he was asking for his patient’s paperwork, a doctor is obligated to give it to him to ensure continuity of care,” said NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres, “but it has to be given in a secure fashion. Nobody who doesn’t have HIPAA clearance can see the patient records.”
NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos said that patients generally own their medical information, but the original record is the property of the provider. “New York state law requires that a doctor maintain records for at least six years, so a doctor who hands over his original records runs the risk of violating New York state law,” said Cevallos.
Bornstein said the original and only copy of Trump’s charts, including lab reports under Trump’s name as well as under the pseudonyms his office used for Trump, were taken.
Another man, Trump Organization chief legal officer Alan Garten, joined Schiller’s team at Bornstein’s office, and Bornstein’s wife, Melissa, photocopied his business card.
A spokesperson for Garten said that Bornstein “voluntarily turned over the medical records to Mr. Schiller” at the request of the White House. “The hand off, which occurred well over a year ago, was peaceful, cooperative and cordial. Prior to turning over the records, Dr. Bornstein was informed of the reasons for the request and willingly complied.”
Schiller, who left the White House in September 2017, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Asked about the incident by Hallie Jackson of NBC News on Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that taking possession of medical records was “standard operating procedure for a new president” and that it was not accurate to characterize what happened as a “raid.”
“Those records were being transferred over to the White House Medical Unit, as requested,” said Sanders. (more)