September 12, 2016
As with the e-mail scandal, Hillary Clinton is not leveling with the American people about her health status. Her recent episode of pneumonia, which appears to have been covered up for weeks given her chronic cough, is a perfect example. While there have been scattered comments from her doctors, there has been some information that is disturbing. Let’s take a look at the facts.
The most forthcoming letter on Ms. Clinton’s health was written by her internist, Dr. Lisa Bardack. This letter notes that Ms. Clinton is basically in good health and suffers from some minor problems such as hypothyroidism and occasional episodes of deep venous thrombosis, a condition not unusual for someone who flies frequently.But there was an episode in which Ms. Clinton became dehydrated, fainted and suffered head trauma. Dr. Bardack describes this as follows:
“In December of 2012, Mrs. Clinton suffered a stomach virus after traveling, became dehydrated, fainted and sustained a concussion. During the follow-up evaluation, Mrs. Clinton was found to have a transverse sinus thrombosis and began anticoagulant therapy to dissolve the clot. As a result of the concussion, Mrs. Clinton developed double vision for a period of time and benefited from wearing glasses with a Fresnel prism. Her concussion symptoms, including the double vision, resolved within two months and she discontinued the use of the prism.”
This is where questions begin to arise. Double vision is not a diagnosis. It is a symptom. Dr. Bardack neglects to mention what the diagnosis was. But we can look at a picture of Mrs. Clinton during this time period and get a reasonable idea of what her diagnosis was.
From this picture, we can see that the pupils in Ms. Clinton’s eyes are equal in diameter and there is no drooping of her eyelids. The Fresnel prism that Dr. Bardack refers to is the piece of plastic in the glasses for her left eye with the vertical lines etched into it. From this picture, the odds are that Ms. Clinton had what is called a sixth nerve palsy, which caused her to have side-by-side double vision. The sixth nerve connects the brain to the muscles of the eyes that move the eyes sideways. When one or both is damaged, the eyes point in different directions and the patient experiences double vision.
Most patients, except those with a lazy or blind eye, find double vision to be intolerable and the treatment is to occlude one eye, wear prism glasses or have surgery to realign the eyes. Fortunately for most patients including Ms. Clinton, sixth nerve palsies usually resolve on their own. Thus in her case, the prism glasses were no longer necessary after two months.
The question that must now be asked is why Ms. Clinton had a sixth nerve palsy. Head trauma is a definite possibility, as Dr. Bardack states. High blood pressure and diabetes are also causes but Ms. Clinton has neither of these conditions. This can be seen in Lyme disease, but unless her doctors were brain dead, she was checked for this condition, especially since she lives in a tick-ridden Westchester County.
But in my thirty years as a practicing ophthalmologist, I have never seen a sixth nerve palsy caused by minor head trauma. When this happens, the patient really smashes his or her head. This causes swelling in the brain and stretches the sixth nerve. Is this the real reason Ms. Clinton had a sixth nerve palsy? The fact that Dr. Bardack’s letter states that Ms. Clinton had transverse sinus thrombosis makes this more likely. This is basically a fancy medical word for a blood clot in the brain. Was this clot caused by her head trauma? Did Ms. Clinton suffer any brain damage from this trauma? Was brain surgery needed to evacuate this clot? Is this the real reason she won’t release the medical records of this event?
The Clinton campaign further destroyed its credibility on the health issue by stating that while attending a 9/11 event, she fainted due to the heat. When a video surfaced indicating that she could barely walk, they retracted their statement and said that she was diagnosed with pneumonia two days before the incident. But why does Ms. Clinton have pneumonia? She has had a chronic cough for weeks if not months. Every medical student knows that pneumonia in an older patient often masks lung cancer. Ms. Clinton must release her X-rays to prove this is not the case.
It may well be that Mrs. Clinton is fine. After all, she is trying to keep a schedule that most people half her age would have difficulty following. But if this is the case, there should be no reason to hide the medical records of her head trauma, concussion and pneumonia. When presidential-candidate John McCain admitted that he had skin melanoma (a potentially fatal condition) the press hounded him until he released hundreds of pages of medical records to prove that the melanoma had not spread. Ms. Clinton should give the voters the same courtesy.