Judge Sonia Sotomayor's physician has penned a letter proclaiming Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee to be in "very good health" with few long-term concerns about her Type I diabetes.
In a letter obtained by the Huffington Post, Dr. Andrew Jay Drexler, a clinical professor of medicine at UCLA, said that during his twenty-plus years serving as Sotomayor's doctor, the court of appeals judge "always had excellent control of her diabetes."
"Her hemoglobin A1c levels, the best measure of diabetes control," he wrote, "have consistently been less than 6.5%, the optimal level as defined by all diabetes organizations."
In addition, the nominee for the Supreme Court is unlikely to develop any of the late-in-life complications, which may arise with Type I diabetics, Drexler said
"As of my last visit with Judge Sotomayor on March 20, 2009," Drexler wrote, "she had no evidence of any micro vascular complications of diabetes or even any early signs that they might develop. More sophisticated testing, which she has had done on a regular basis, confirms this opinion. Specifically, I would not expect Judge Sotomayor to develop any eye problems, kidney problems, or nerve problems. During her last cardiac stress test, she was able to exercise at the level of a much younger woman with a completely normal result. Given her blood pressure and cholesterol levels and excellent diabetes control she does not appear to be at risk for a heart attack or stroke."
The concerns over Sotomayor's diabetes have played a small part of the dialogue surrounding her nomination. While legal observers and political strategists have given the issue a bit more weight, the medical community has cautioned against over-emphasis and even prejudice. While Type I diabetics tend to live, on average, seven to ten years less than those without the disease, a slew of medical advancements have begun to close that gap. Stem cell research, moreover, could pave the way for even greater breakthroughs.
That said, senior officials in the Obama administration said they did look closely at Sotomayor's medical history and stressed that, after their review, they felt more than confident in her capacity to serve on the bench. The Drexler letter is, undoubtedly, the next step in putting the issue to rest.
Here is a copy of her speech:
Thank you, Mr. President, for the most humbling honor of my life. You have nominated me to serve on the country's highest court, and I am deeply moved.
I could not, in the few minutes I have today, mention the names of the many friends and family who have guided and supported me throughout my life, and who have been instrumental in helping me realize my dreams. (See pictures of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.)
I see many of those faces in this room. Each of you, whom I love deeply, will know that my heart today is bursting with gratitude for all you have done for me.
The President has said to you that I bring my family. In the audience is my brother Juan Sotomayor — he's a physician in Syracuse, New York; my sister-in-law, Tracy (ph); my niece Kiley — she looks like me.
My twin nephews, Conner and Corey.
I stand on the shoulders of countless people, yet there is one extraordinary person who is my life aspiration. That person is my mother, Celina Sotomayor.
My mother has devoted her life to my brother and me. And as the President mentioned, she worked often two jobs to help support us after dad died. I have often said that I am all I am because of her, and I am only half the woman she is.
Sitting next to her is Omar Lopez (ph), my mom's husband and a man whom I have grown to adore. I thank you for all that you have given me and continue to give me. I love you.
I chose to be a lawyer and ultimately a judge because I find endless challenge in the complexities of the law. I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights.
For as long as I can remember, I have been inspired by the achievement of our founding fathers. They set forth principles that have endured for than more two centuries. Those principles are as meaningful and relevant in each generation as the generation before.