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Clinton’s pneumonia fuels debate about candidate health data

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gets into a van as she leaves an apartment building on Sunday in New York. Clinton’s campaign said the Democratic presidential nominee left the 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York early after feeling “overheated.”

WASHINGTON » Anybody — no matter their age or how healthy they are — can develop pneumonia. And it’s possible the campaign trail’s grueling schedule, with its germy hand-shaking and selfie-taking, increased Hillary Clinton’s risk.

Clinton’s illness appears mild, but it is fueling the question of what else voters need to know about whether she and Donald Trump are fit enough to be president. Yet the reality: There’s not much of a crystal ball to predict things like a common infection.

Clinton so far has revealed more medical information than Trump but both promise to release additional details. Until then, some doctors say watching a candidate in action can reveal one key qualification — cognitive function.

“In an ideal world, both candidates would be more transparent so there wouldn’t be questions about these problems that any of us could face,” said Dr. Mark Gladwin of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Normal healthy people get these pneumonias.”

But, “the most important factor we want to know is cognitive performance, and we can assess that” by, for example, how nimble candidates are during debates, he added.

Releasing at least some health information is an election-year ritual but there’s no rule about how much the public needs to know — candidates have rights to medical privacy, too. Then there’s the question of whether health information really affects how people vote.

Clinton, 68, and Trump, 70, each had their own doctor write a letter last year attesting they’re in excellent health. Clinton’s internist wrote nearly two pages and included standard lab test results showing good heart health and a fairly detailed discussion of some previous problems — a concussion after a fall in 2012, and some blood clots that have her taking a blood thinner as a precaution.

Trump’s letter was four paragraphs with few details beyond good blood pressure. His doctor, a gastroenterologist, said Trump “has had no significant medical problems” and would “be the healthiest individual ever elected.”

Still, it’s a far cry from 2008 when Republican Sen. John McCain, then 71, allowed reporters to briefly review more than a thousand pages of medical records to show he was cancer-free and fit to serve as president.

Releasing more information up-front opened Clinton to more questions about her medical history than Trump. Still, “women live longer than men,” Gladwin noted. “In general women tend to be healthier.”

Clinton’s campaign hasn’t revealed many details of her pneumonia, which was diagnosed Friday. She didn’t immediately cancel campaign events; her illness came to light Sunday after she abruptly left a 9/11 memorial event and was seen stumbling while getting into a van. She emerged later to wave to supporters and was at home Monday, all signs that it’s not a severe case.

While Clinton is taking antibiotics, both viruses and bacteria can cause pneumonia — it just takes the bad luck of the wrong bug lodging in someone’s lung. Certain kinds are deadly for the frail. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 2 million people a year get mild “walking pneumonia” that easily clears up, often without treatment. Clinton had attributed an earlier coughing fit to allergies; it’s not clear if that really was an early pneumonia symptom.

“Candidates are constantly out in enclosed spaces, face to face with myriads of people,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University. “It’s an ideal opportunity for the transmission of a respiratory virus.”

While getting an infection isn’t predictable, the public doesn’t need every little detail about a candidate’s health history, said Dr. G. Kevin Donovan, a physician and bioethicist at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Certainly, “we cannot trust their egos to discern when something would overly impair them,” he added. “It comes down to not so much do we trust the candidates but can we still trust the medical professional?”

So what should voters look for in these disclosures? Any condition that could limit a candidate’s life expectancy or lead to disability, such as heart health, Gladwin said.

“I think voters want transparency about their current physical function with the idea that they potentially have to remain healthy for four to eight years,” he said.

One comparison might be whether the candidates release the same information as President Barack Obama after his last physical:

—Vital statistics, including blood pressure, resting heart rate and height and weight. Clinton has released almost all of this, except for height and weight. Trump has released his blood pressure, and said he lost “at least 15 pounds” but didn’t list his actual weight.

—Lab results, including cholesterol, glucose levels and, for men, a prostate screening called a PSA. Clinton has released all her cholesterol levels; Trump has released his PSA.

—Physical exam results. Clinton has released that she had a full cardiac evaluation including EKG that found no problems, and a normal colonoscopy, mammogram and gynecologic exam. Trump’s doctor said only that he has suffered no cancer and undergone no surgery since a childhood appendectomy.

“I don’t see in this sniping back and forth about medical issues anything that sends up red flags,” Donovan concluded. “It serves more as a distraction than as a real issue.”

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  • HilLIARy supporters must be frantic, she looks very weak politically, she is the most untrustworthy candidate in American History, and now this, she is in a physically terrible condition. Will she even make it to the election? That is the question, all the while she and her doctors are being very disingenuous when they say she is in “excellent” health, voters don’t and shouldn’t believe her, she has never been particularly honest about anything in the past.

    • Again, Clinton was faced with an opportunity to be honest or tell a lie. She again choose to lie. She and Bill seem to always choose the lie. It is just another example of her dishonesty. There is no shame in saying she is sick and taking a few days off instead they chastised anyone that mentioned her health issue then went to the 911 memorial and proved them all correct……

  • She’ll be uncomfortable but it’s not of much concern except to followers of The Donald who are already measuring her for a box. She is a strong lady and wish her well.

    • Once the pneumonia is gone, we can assume she’ll be back to her baseline. They both seem physically ok for their ages (Trump 70, Clinton 68). On the other hand, BOTH have had problems remembering things, numerous times.

      All this talk about health brings up an important point. From now on, ALL candidates for POTUS should take a full physical from a neutral physician (forget Trump’s quack friend), including a CT scan to check for dementia/Alzheimers.

      It’s pretty clear that Ronald Reagan had early onset Alzheimers while still in office. Trump and Clinton…

  • Nobody gets dragged into a car, feet dragging behind, due to pneumonia. That’s an absurd story, even for Clinton standards, but HEY! They keep getting away with it, and the media keeps covering for them, so what the heck.

  • Another AP [Asinine Press] attempt at spin control: “Clinton’s illness appears mild….like a common infection.” Pneumonia can be potentially deadly and it is contagious which would explain why she went to Chelsea’s apartment where her 2 year-old grandchild and 3 month-old infant grandchild reside. NOT. No caring grandmother goes to her grandchildren’s apartment to risk infecting family members, especially little children with not yet fully developed immune systems. Is there a more plausible explanation? According to the NY Post: “Hillary Clinton was headed to an emergency room following her frightening collapse at the Sept. 11 memorial ceremony — but detoured to daughter Chelsea Clinton’s apartment to keep details of her medical treatment under wraps, The Post has learned.” one must ask why would this occur since there is nothing complicated about the treatment for pneumonia, unless the details of her medical treatment are not consistent with a diagnosis of pneumonia.
    http://nypost.com/2016/09/12/clinton-skips-out-on-emergency-room-during-health-episode/

  • A few months ago she said the cough was do to allergies. Then she said it was from talking too much. Now it’s pneumonia. Isn’t pneumonia
    contagus? Why would she go to her daughters apartment to contaminate her granddaughter? Who was the little girl she hugged on the sidewalk
    outside her daughters apartment? NONE of this make’s any since……………Just another lie, she has something way more serious………..

  • the female felon’s media and on line brown shirts’ tactics of denial and deflect is in full force after her fainting incident on sept.11. 2016.

    we know the female felon has avoided open uncontrolled pressers and campaign forums. one reason is “doctors say watching a candidate in action can reveal one key qualification — cognitive function.”

    the congenital liar’s multiple strokes and falls have left her with prolific selected memory loss, concussions, broken bones, bouts of confusion, fatigue and fainting spells. all indicative of questionable cognitive function. questionable cognitive function that can be cloaked by employing an embedded ear transceiver to prompt a “short circuited” spontaneous response during press interviews or debates.

    predictions:
    her phalanx of campaign staff will increase and form roman squares to block any future random video from capturing embarrassing physical breakdowns and loss of cognitive functions;
    campaign staff will again utilize rope brigades to pen in reporters further obstructing their paths and sight lines to cut down on media captures of the female felon’s physical breakdowns and loss of cognitive functions;
    scheduled campaign events will be canceled without notice as will open uncontrolled pressers, interviews and debates.

  • In the Clinton camp , I bet their heads are spinning with the recent revelations into Hillary’s Condition! Wow! I mean all this time,the MSM were constantly performing “Damage Control”, especially after last Fridays debacle speech which she made insulting remarks and criticizing half of Donald Supporters calling them Racist, Homophomes,Islamaphobes etc…Was something wrong then? Because she did look kind of Frail and frustrated!
    And yet the MSM was still telling everyone there was Nothing wrong with Hillary? She’s Fine!

    and Now this ? Now we have the MSM acting as if they were all betrayed lol! Because the facts were finally revealed? OMG!Heavens No!
    Because Hillary herself did not admit to the MSM (her pals) the severity of her condition earlier?

    • Yes, the supposed unbiased media sure is embarrassing themselves with the circle the wagon strategy. The Star Advertiser has been doing it for Barry Hussein for 8 years. At least in Stalin’s Soviet Union they had an excuse. Always make the dictator look good or meet your maker.

  • Now Waldo is saying she didn’t think that having pneumonia would be a big deal. That may be true if she were a healthy 30 year old. She just doesn’t get it. She tells lies not even worthy of an 8 year old and the media slavishly nods in agreement. Her propaganda minister must really be scrambling now.

  • Went to her daughter’s apartment instead of getting medical attention ? Possibly spreading her germs to her daughter and grandchildren ? Is this poor decision making or an attempt to cover up something. Either way, nothing adds up and she still appears to be untrustworthy.

  • This week’s lie: Donald saying he’ll release his medical records next week, BEFORE he knows the results. This guy is so image-conscious and secretive, he wouldn’t promise to release anything unless he knows what they’re going to say.

    “Hopefully they’re going to be good…” and “I hope she gets well…”

    He doesn’t talk like that. He’s up to something. In other words, he’s bluffing.

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