WASHINGTON – Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where President Donald Trump was headed for treatment of COVID-19, is the nation’s premier health-care center for troops and senior government officials.
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center opened Sept. 15, 2011 after the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. were consolidated. The new facility opened on the campus of the naval hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
It is named after Walter Reed, an Army doctor who led the research that discovered yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes. Since its opening in 1909, Walter Reed hospital has treated Army privates and U.S. presidents. Staff at the hospitals have also cared for members of Congress and the Supreme Court.
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the hospitals handled an influx of grievously wounded troops who were saved on battlefields by swift evacuation and advances in trauma care.
Trump wore a mask in July at Walter Reed while he visited troops being treated there.
First Lady Melania Trump was treated at Walter Reed for a kidney condition in 2018.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged the White House to allow doctors treating Trump to address the country about his condition and care.
“It is extremely important to keep the public fully informed about what is happening,” Panetta said. “It is particularly critical that information about the president’s health is presented openly. The tendency is ‘don’t panic the public, don’t tell the full story.’ But I think it’s essential that the public know exactly what is going on. I really urge the White House not to pull any punches. Have the doctors stand up and make very clear news with regards to the president’s heath. It is the public’s business to know what’s going on.”