With pneumonia diagnosis, questions about Clinton’s health move from the fringe



Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses a crowd on Tuesday, Aug. 16 2016 at West Philadelphia High School in Pennsylvania. (Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, her doctor revealed Sunday after the Democratic presidential candidate suddenly left a 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York and was caught on camera struggling to walk as she was helped into a waiting vehicle.

The departure threatened to overwhelm Clinton’s campaign, making mainstream what until now had been questions largely from the right about the status of her health after several long bouts of coughing at campaign events.

Clinton’s campaign at first said nothing about her departure Sunday. Aides then said she had felt overheated at the outdoor ceremony and quickly recovered at her daughter’s Manhattan apartment. The campaign hours later released a statement from Clinton’s doctor saying they had known since Friday she has pneumonia.


“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies, ” Dr. Lisa R. Bardack said in the statement. “On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule.”

The doctor also addressed Sunday’s episode, saying she had examined the 68-year-old former Secretary of State at the Clinton home in suburban New York.

“While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now rehydrated and recovering nicely.”

Since the Friday diagnosis, Clinton kept a schedule of events, including a Friday evening fundraiser at which she described half of rival Donald Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” and Sunday’s memorial on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. A senior aide said late Sunday the campaign was discussing whether to go ahead with a planned trip to California on Monday.

While Trump uncharacteristically refrained from commenting, the image of her almost falling to the ground on the way to the car — captured on an amateur video — is certain to give a broader voice to questions about her health and how candid she has been about it.

Clinton has released far more information about her health than Trump, who is older. But her medical report is now more than a year old, and the persistent coughing has raised doubts even before Sunday.

What the country knows from past reports is that Clinton has hypothyroidism, seasonal pollen allergies and takes blood thinners as a precaution against clots, according to a letter from Dr. Bardack released by her campaign in July 2015.


In December 2012, Clinton fainted and sustained a concussion after a stomach virus and dehydration prevented her from initially testifying before Congress, which was investigating the Benghazi, Libya, attack. She was later found to have a clot and double vision, causing her to wear special eyeglasses.

A 2013 follow-up visit showed that Clinton had no more effects from the concussion and tested negative for all blood clotting disorders, her doctor said.

“She is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as president of the United States,” wrote Lisa Bardack, chairman of internal medicine at the Mount Kisco Medical Group.

Bardack said Clinton does not smoke or use illicit drugs and drinks alcohol occasionally.

“She eats a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables and fruits,” her doctor wrote. “She exercises regularly, including yoga, swimming, walking and weight training.”

At the time, she was up to date on regular colonoscopy and gynecologic exams, mammograms and breast ultrasounds. Her most recent physical was conducted on March 21, 2015.

Clinton’s family history includes a father who died of a stroke and a mother who died from congestive heart failure. She has two brothers, one of whom has premature heart disease.

Clinton and Trump are two of the oldest major party nominees for president ever.

At 70, Trump would be older than the nation’s oldest president, Ronald Reagan, who was 69 on Inauguration Day 1981. Clinton would be the second-oldest, at 69 just about 8 months younger than Reagan was.

When Clinton felt ill Sunday, she went to her daughter’s apartment in New York without the reporters who normally travel with her. They were told about 90 minutes later where she was.

“Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for an hour and 30 minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said. “During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter’s apartment, and is feeling much better.”

Clinton emerged before noon. “I’m feeling great, it’s a beautiful day in New York.” she said, walking out wearing sunglasses.

Trump also attended the 9/11 memorial. In recent weeks, Trump and Republicans cast doubts about Clinton’s fitness for office.
Trump has released little on his health, though he is expected to be interviewed by Dr. Mehmet Oz on television this week.

He previously released a letter from his longtime doctor, gastroenterologist Harold Bornstein, that has been mocked by Democrats and doctors. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual elected to the presidency,” Bornstein wrote last year. Trump’s blood pressure and lab results were “astonishingly excellent” and “his physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” he wrote.


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