ABC News’ Jon Garcia and Ann Compton Report: President George W. Bush will undergo a ‘routine’ colonoscopy while at Camp David Saturday to check for colorectal cancer, White House spokesperson Tony Snow told reporters Friday.
Because the procedure will put Bush under a type of anesthesia, he will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney for as long as Bush is affected by the anesthesia, Snow said.
"The Vice President will serve as acting president … the exact time and duration will be dictated by the findings of the exam," Snow said.
The Vice President will be at his home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on Saturday. Asked if it would be better to have Cheney in Washington for that time, Snow responded, "He has full capability to respond to anything from the Eastern Shore."
The procedure will be supervised by the President’s doctor, Dr. Richard Tubb, and conducted by a team of doctors from the Naval Medical Center.
Bush last had a colonoscopy in June 2002 and White House officials expect this to be similar to what was done then. That procedure lasted for about 20 minutes but the president didn’t resume his duties until more than 2 hours after the procudure started, Snow said. No colon polyps were found during the 2002 procedure, however Bush had polyps removed from his colon before he became President.
"The President (currently) has had no symptoms," Snow said, but his doctors recommended another check five years after his last colonoscopy.
During his last colonoscopy (also performed at Camp David in June 2002) the President opted for the ultra short-acting intravenous anesthesia propofol so that we could be awake and up to speed within a couple of hours, rather than groggy for several hours more under anesthesia usually used for such procedures. The President said later the country was at war and he wanted to be cautious.