Health of Clinton, Trump becomes important talking points in campaigns

AP Photos
AP Photos

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Hoping to put the issue of her health behind her as she gets ready to return to the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday released an updated review of her physical fitness and details about a recent bout of pneumonia.

“She is recovering well with antibiotics and rest,” said her doctor, Lisa Bardack, in a letter released by her campaign. “She continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as President of the United States.”

The details made public by the Democratic presidential nominee included a description of the pneumonia diagnosis she received last week. Her illness became public after she left Sunday’s 9/11 memorial service in New York early and was seen on video staggering while getting into a van.

The health episode fueled long-simmering conservative conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health and provided a fresh line of attack for rival Donald Trump, who has frequently questioned whether Clinton has the stamina to serve as commander in chief.

At a Wednesday evening rally in Canton, Ohio, Trump noted the room filled with 5,000 people was hot.

“You think Hillary would be able to stand up here for an hour and do this?” he asked. “I don’t think so.”

Trump later added at the same rally, “We want her better, we want her back on the trail.”

The Republican nominee, meanwhile, handed over a one-page summary of a recent physical exam to the celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz while taping an episode of Oz’s talk show. But voters will have to wait another day for details: the show does not air until Thursday.

The letter from Bardack, the chair of internal medicine at CareMount Medical in Mount Kisco, New York, said a chest scan revealed the candidate had “mild, non-contagious bacterial pneumonia.” She was treated with a 10-day course of Levaquin, an antibiotic used to treat infections.

The letter says the illness stemmed from a bout of seasonal allergies that developed into an upper respiratory tract infection and cough. Clinton’s pneumonia symptoms began around the start of this month, and she saw Bardack on Sept. 2 for a low-grade fever, congestion and fatigue.

The letter also notes that in January, during the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, Clinton received treatment for a sinus and ear infection that included placing a drainage tube in her left ear. A CT scan of her brain and sinuses showed no abnormalities and mild chronic sinus inflammation.

Clinton, 68, has blood pressure of 100 over 70 – within healthy levels and not signaling the need for any medications. She has also had a normal mammogram and breast ultrasound, according to the letter.

The letter from Clinton’s doctor made no mention of her weight, a key part of any medical exam, nor did a similar letter released last year.

“These numbers suggest she’s a healthy 68-year-old woman with a very favorable cardiovascular risk profile,” said Dr. Mark Creager, director of the Dartmouth-Hitchkock heart and vascular center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and a past president of the American Heart Association.

Testing that shows no evidence of plaque building up in her arteries “is all very reassuring,” he said.

Bardack, who also wrote the letter about Clinton’s health released in July 2015, said her patient takes thyroid and allergy medicines and the blood thinner Coumadin, prescribed as a preventative after she suffered a blood clot resulting from a 2012 concussion that led her to spend a few days in New York-Presbyterian Hospital and take a month-long absence from the State Department.

Clinton has spent the past three days out of the public eye, recuperating at her suburban New York home. She’ll return to the campaign trail Thursday.

“She’s feeling great and I think she’ll be back out there tomorrow,” former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday, when he stepped in for his wife at a previous scheduled campaign event in Las Vegas. “It’s a crazy time we live in, you know, when people think there’s something unusual about getting the flu.”

Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine is in “overall excellent health,” according to a letter the campaign also released Wednesday from his doctor, Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress. The letter said Kaine has never smoked and his alcohol use is “modest.” He’s 5-foot-9 and weighed more than 208 pounds during his last physical in February.

Clinton’s campaign used the letters to argue that she’s gone far beyond Trump in disclosing details about her personal life. Beyond health records, Clinton has released nearly four decades of tax returns; Trump has refused to make his filings public.

“It’s fair to say the public now knows more about Hillary Clinton than nearly anyone in public life,” said campaign manager Robby Mook in a statement. “Donald Trump is hands down the least transparent presidential nominee in memory.”

Mook added: “It begs the question: what is he trying to hide?”

Trump has said he plans to release the details of a recent physical this week. Trump’s Thursday appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show” was billed by the campaign as a discussion about his general well-being and his family’s medical history.

But ever the showman, he pulled an outline of results of an exam, conducted by his longtime physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, from his jacket pocket for Oz to review during Wednesday’s taping. “Those were all the tests that were just done last week,” Trump said in an excerpt released by the show.

Bornstein had previously written a note declaring the 70-year-old Trump, if elected, would be the healthiest president in history. He later said he had written the letter in five minutes as a limousine sent by the candidate idled outside.

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Lemire reported from Flint, Michigan. AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee and Associated Press writers Donna Cassata in Washington and Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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