Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a letter from her doctor Wednesday describing her diagnosis and treatment for “mild, non-contagious bacterial pneumonia,” and will note that she received a CT scan confirming the illness and that she is now halfway through a regimen on the antibiotic Levaquin.
The letter, from Clinton’s doctor, Lisa Bardack, is intended to put to rest concerns about the Democratic presidential nominee’s health after the illness caused her to stumble out of a memorial service Sunday and forced her off the campaign trail for days. Clinton’s campaign said the information would update a health history released last year.
The details in the letter show that Clinton has normal-ranging vital statistics, according to several doctors who reviewed the information but have never treated her. Her blood pressure and cholesterol levels are “good” or “excellent” and place her at low risk for illness for a woman her age, the doctors said.
The campaign came under fire on Sunday, when Clinton fell ill at a Ground Zero commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. For 90 minutes after her abrupt departure, the campaign offered no information on Clinton’s whereabouts – and it was many hours later before the campaign revealed the pneumonia diagnosis, which had come on Friday.
Bardack is the chair of Internal Medicine at CareMount Medical in Mount Kisco, New York, and has served as Clinton’s personal physician since 2001. Her letter also described various medications that Clinton is taking, including Coumadin, a blood-thinner. And it describes Clinton’s normal-ranging vital statistics: blood pressure of 100/70; a pulse of 70; and a cholesterol level of 189.
Bardack examined Clinton as recently as Wednesday, and has done so several other times since she was diagnosed with pneumonia Friday, according to a campaign aide.
According to her doctor, Clinton has received two vaccinations against pneumonia – Prevnar and Pneumovax – although it is not clear when she received those vaccinations.
The new information reveals more about Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis. She was tested with a non-contrast chest CT scan, which discovered a small right middle-lobe pneumonia.
According to the campaign, Clinton was diagnosed wth a mild form of non-contageious bacterial pneumonia and is under treatment with the antibiotic Levaquin.
Clinton had previously released a letter from her doctor Bardack, which contained information about her current health, medications and past health conditions, including a history of hyperthyroidism and deep-vein thrombosis.
After Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis, she kept the information secret and ignored her doctor’s advice to rest and modify her schedule. Instead, Clinton continued with a full day of campaign events, choosing to “power through” despite her illness.
But by Sunday morning, Clinton became severely dehydrated during the outdoor 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero, according to the campaign. She left the event early and was seen in video footage buckling as she was helped into her van by her aides and security detail.
The campaign’s long delay in providing information to the media and the public prompted criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Clinton canceled three days of scheduled campaign events and has been resting at home in Chappaqua, New York. She is expected to return to the campaign trail with an event in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday.
“Obviously I should have gotten some rest sooner,” Clinton said on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday. “I just didn’t think it was going to be that big a deal.”
Clinton has previously become severely dehydrated in 2012 and fainted, suffering a concussion. She was later diagnosed with a blod clot in her skull that was discovered during routine testing while recovering from her concussion.
At the same time, Clinton has criticized Donald Trump for releasing a letter from his doctor earlier last year, which contained virtually no objective health information. Trump has since said that he would release more medical information from a physical he received last week.
On Wednesday, Trump taped an episode of the Dr. Oz Show, in which he discussed his overall health with host Mehmet Oz.
When Oz asked why he had not released his medical results, Trump replied: “Well, I really have no problem in doing it.”
“I have it right here,” he said, brandishing two piecies of paper that contained his most recent results from his physical. “Should I do it? I don’t care. Should I do it?”
Clinton has taken the blood-thinner Coumadin at least since last year. A partial health history released by Clinton’s campaign last summer refers to the drug but does not say precisely when it was prescribed. A letter from Bardack released July 31, 2015, said Clinton had been prescribed Lovenox, a short-acting blood thinner, when she was flying for long distances. Bardack said then that the medication was discontinued when Clinton began taking Coumadin.
Edward Geltman, a cardiologist at Washington University’s School of Medicine, said the information released shows her to be healthy, with normal range for vitals. Her blood pressure is on the “low side of normal,” he said, so she would be prone to fainting and sensitive to dehydration.
Her medications include medicine for an underactive thyroid, a blood thinner, an antihistamine (Clarinex) for seasonal allergies, and B-12 for mild anemia.
She has gotten the standard vaccine for bacterial pneumonia, but that only prevents certain strains, and wouldn’t protect her from picking up other strains from “shaking hands on a rope line,” Geltman said.
The one main health item that does not seem to be included is information about the health of her heart, such as electrocardiogram. Those are fairly standard tests, and as people age, it’s important to establish a baseline, he said. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. But her because she doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t appear to be particularly overweight, he said, and has good cholesterol levels, she doesn’t appear to be at risk for a heart attack.
Doctors said the Levaquin, which she is taking to treat her pneumonia, is an excellent and appropriate treatment. Her blood pressure and cholesterol are excellent and seem to place her at low risk for a woman her age. She is on minimal medications. She has had appropriate breast cancer screening, but there is no mention of colon cancer screening.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Abby Phillip