Suicide alert during Clinton's visit to Ireland
Staffer threatened to kill herself at Dublin Castle reveals Clinton's doctor
Dr. Connie Mariano, former President Clinton's doctor, has revealed how the White House team avoided a near-tragedy during Clinton's 1995 visit to Ireland when a member of staff threatened to commit suicide in Dublin Castle where the president was attending a state dinner in his honor.
On December 1st, 1995, as the Clintons and Dr. Mariano stepped off Air Force One during the third day of their European visit, a medical unit nurse informed Mariano that they had received a "very disturbing" call from a psychiatrist in Washington D.C., warning them that a member of staff covering the trip was going to kill herself.
Mariano reveals in her new book, ‘The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents - A Memoir,’ that her initial concern was to ensure that the waiting press didn't notice that anything was wrong and told the nurse to continue smiling and waving to them as they descended from the plane.
The young woman in question, referred to in the book as "Mary", had a history of depression and was assigned as a member of staff for the trip. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and had phoned her psychiatrist in D.C. to inform her that she was very upset and was going to kill herself at midnight at Dublin Castle, where the Clintons would be attending the state dinner, as planned.
Dr. Mariano admits that her initial concern was the implications a suicide would have on the trip and how the media would spin such a tragedy.
"I know it sounds callous, but a suicide during the president's trip by one of his staffers would overshadow all the goodwill this visit could bring. It's all the press would cover, the suicide."
She wondered "how would a suicide associated with the president's visit be perceived? Would the press make it look like the White House didn't adequately screen their staffers? Perhaps they would investigate if the young woman had a relationship with Bill Clinton. A variety of conspiracy theories would erupt."
Despite this, the doctor in her took action and had several Secret Service agents called in to help them find the young woman. They sent the agents to the event sites to look for the woman, had the trip leader and a military aide wait at the hotel, and had the unit nurse contact the American Embassy to have them organize a local hospital for the woman once she was found.
Moreno herself accompanied the president to Dublin Castle that night. She said to the girl's psychiatrist that "although our primary job is to take care of the president, Mary is part of our family. We'll do our best to help her, once we find where she is."
After arriving at Dublin Castle Mariano was diverted from the entourage on a separate tour from the President, where she said that the dim candlelight, intended to be elegant and romantic made the castle look eerie as they searched for the "damsel in distress".
The Secret Service agents had found nothing in Mary's room except her suitcase, which contained bottles full of pills, indicating that Mary had not been taking her prescriptions.
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