Doctors are debating Hillary Clinton’s health issues — and the information gaps in a letter written by Clinton’s physician — as the weeks count down to election day on Nov. 8
Writing at the New York Times, Dr. Lawrence K. Altman summarizes the recent letter written by the Democrat nominee’s personal physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack of Mt. Kisco, New York. Altman acknowledges that Clinton, 68, has “had serious medical problems in recent years.”
He observes that Bardack asserts Clinton was recovering from a “mild non-contagious bacterial pneumonia” diagnosed prior to her collapse during the 9/11 Memorial event in New York City. Bardack wrote, nevertheless, that Clinton “has remained healthy and has not developed new medical conditions this year other than a sinus and ear infection,” in addition to the pneumonia.
“She continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as President of the United States,” Bardack concluded.
Altman continues that some physicians not involved with Clinton’s care are concerned about Bardack’s omission of important basic data about the candidate in addition to the history of her blood clots and her 2012 concussion.
“Still, the information Mrs. Clinton has made public is more extensive than the details and assessments that Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, the doctor for Donald J. Trump, 70, the Republican presidential nominee, provided on Thursday, saying that Mr. Trump has had no serious illness and ‘is in excellent health,’” Altman says.
Trump, however, has had no episodes that even come close to what was viewed in the video of Clinton being removed by aides from the 9/11 event. Clinton was not transported to a hospital, but subsequently appeared outside her daughter’s apartment building, less than two hours later, as she waved to the crowd and hugged a young child.
Regarding Clinton’s pneumonia, Altman says that, despite the fact that Clinton received “two preventive vaccines” against bacterial pneumonia, “neither is 100 percent protective.” He also notes, as did Dr. Jane Orient – executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) – that Bardack did not specify whether a particular bacterium had been identified in Clinton’s case.
Altman received comments from Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, who says the course of antibiotics treatments prescribed by Bardack for Clinton suggests that the nominee “might have had the pneumonia for a longer period than initially thought.”
Additionally, Clinton should still have a follow-up examination and chest X-rays to ensure the pneumonia is responding to the treatment, Altman notes, adding, “Some crucial details were left out of Dr. Bardack’s statement, including whether Mrs. Clinton was short of breath and experiencing chest pain while breathing when the pneumonia was detected, which could indicate the severity of the pneumonia.”
While Orient says the pneumonia is not the main health issue, she maintains, “There are oddities.”
She tells Breitbart News:
She said she felt “great” shortly after the sinking episode, but not great enough to go to California. A precaution? But it’s odd that no precautions against another fall were apparent. Where and when did Dr. Bardack examine her? What happened does not look like a faint from dehydration, and propping a person who feels faint up in a standing position is highly inappropriate. Pneumococcal pneumonia is unlikely to be transmitted to others; what is the relevance of reported illnesses in staff? And what is evidence for pneumococcal, especially in a vaccinated person? It would not explain the longstanding cough.
Moving on to Clinton’s blood clots, Altman summarizes that she has experienced clots on three occasions, the first occurring in 1998 while her husband was president. Clinton reportedly refused medical advice that she should be hospitalized at that time. Those medical records have not been released by the Clinton campaign.
In 2009, when she was secretary of state, Clinton suffered a second blood clot, Altman explains, and then, in 2012, after a stomach virus that led to dehydration, fainting, and falling, Clinton experienced a concussion and double vision. An MRI revealed “a clot in one of the two main veins that drain blood from the brain,” the doctor writes. Clinton now takes Coumadin “to prevent the clot from growing and becoming even more dangerous.”
“Accounts of how long it took for Mrs. Clinton to recover from symptoms of the concussion are discordant,” Altman acknowledges. “Dr. Bardack said they had resolved in two months. But former President Bill Clinton said his wife’s concussion had ‘required six months of very serious work to get over.’”
Both Orient – who specializes in internal medicine – and Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, with expertise in women’s health, and a background in internal medicine, neuropsychiatry, and neuroendocrinology, tell Breitbart News that Clinton’s neurocognitive functioning is the major concern.
Vliet stresses that Altman’s summary “doesn’t address the abnormal movements we have seen on multiple public videos of events where she is speaking.”
It doesn’t address the falls, the difficulty walking up stairs or stepping into vehicles (needs a booster step), the times of “freezing” in her speech, or her memory problems (documented by FBI investigation from her interviews), volatile moods (widely reported by staff, Secret Service, etc. but also evident on videos of events when she lashes out at someone who disagrees with her). It seems to me there are still many serious questions about her fitness to serve as president of the United States, just based on what is evident in public videos of her.
Vliet maintains a “neurocognitive evaluation by an independent expert is what’s needed and full release of the medical records, laboratory studies imaging studies etc.”
Altman observes Bardack’s statement in her recent letter that a CT scan of Clinton’s brain earlier this year showed no abnormalities.
“Mrs. Clinton has not released statements from a neurologist, neurosurgeon or other specialists involved in her care in Washington and New York,” he writes. “While dementia can develop independent of head trauma, researchers are exploring whether a head injury might hasten development of dementia, as has been seen with former boxers and football players.”
Orient’s main concerns are the questions about Clinton’s traumatic brain injury and transverse sinus clot: “Do the memory problems she reported to the FBI persist? Is there any follow-up to Huma Abedin’s email concerning confusion?”
Physicians very often miss signs of cognitive impairment – so formal testing is imperative. A specialized MRI with DTI is needed to check for damage to white-matter connections. And an EEG is needed, if there is any suspicion of absence or partial complex seizures, which may be subtle. Intracranial hypertension very often persists after a sinus thrombosis. ICH can cause visual impairment, double vision, balance problems, headache, and memory problems, among many other symptoms. Has Clinton had a venogram to check on the status of that clot and the adequacy of venous drainage? Other possible neurologic problems have been suggested –generally clinical diagnoses for which there is no specific test. A thorough neurological exam by a neurologist is needed, not just a glib “neuro exam normal” by the generalist.
Meanwhile, as doctors continue to point out the inconsistencies in the reports about Clinton’s health, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel acknowledged, “You know, these conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health would be a lot harder to believe if they didn’t actually come true.”
Vliet, in fact, adds, “If Hillary Clinton’s health issues are ‘a vast right wing conspiracy,’ as she claims, and there’s nothing to them, then it seems common sense she should be quite open and transparent about releasing her full medical records.”