Scalia Had a Slew of Health Issues

Justice suffered from diabetes, obesity, other ailments: doctor
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 11:05 AM CST
Scalia Had a Slew of Health Issues
People pay their respects to the late Justice Antonin Scalia in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suffered from a host of ailments that contributed to his death, including coronary artery disease, obesity, and diabetes, according to a letter from his physician. The letter—addressed to Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara, who determined Scalia died of a heart attack and no autopsy was needed—also mentions Scalia was a smoker who had sleep apnea, degenerative joint disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and high blood pressure, a Presidio County DA tells the AP, noting the letter is proof there was nothing fishy about the 79-year-old justice's death. The letter was dated three days after Scalia died, though Guevara says she also spoke to the doctor by phone on Feb. 13.

A doctor who did not treat Scalia says the cited conditions would have put him at risk for heart arrhythmia, pulmonary embolism, and stroke. Another doctor notes a breathing machine used for sleep apnea would "make sure the heart and body aren't stressed while sleeping." A sheriff's report notes a breathing machine was found turned off next to Scalia's bed, but he was not hooked up to it, per the Washington Post. "All seemed to be in order," the sheriff wrote. Scalia's clothes were neatly folded and the sheets covering him were smooth and creased. His head was elevated on three pillows and his hands were at his sides. A pillowcase "appeared to have shifted at some point in the night" and was covering his eyes but "did not seem to have inhibited Scalia's breathing." (More Antonin Scalia stories.)

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