Each of the major 2016 presidential candidates claim that the other isn’t fit to be president, but before, they were talking about matters of temperament. Hillary’s continuing complex relationship with the truth keeps you wondering if she’s fit from that standpoint, but now it’s coming down to something even more basic: Is she physically fit enough to be president? I’m don’t mean aerobic physical fitness, I’m talking about the ability to function mentally for the next four years.
Recently, Hillary Clinton apparently got pneumonia, heat exhaustion, and post-concussion syndrome all at the same time and wobbled away from a 9/11 memorial service in New York City. What really happened to the possibly future Madame president, and was her problem in her lungs, her brain, or both?
So here’s a doctor’s view of the secret medical history of Hillary Clinton. I say secret because, like much about Hillary, there’s a lack of transparency, a failure to communicate, and it’s the pre-existing condition that Obamacare can’t fix. The independent reports that 46% of registered voters don’t buy the Clinton campaign’s explanation of the events at the 9/11 memorial.
The official Clinton-approved story is that Hillary was overheated due to the searing 80 degree weather in the big Apple, but it soon came out that she had a bacterial pneumonia since at least the previous Friday. Foxnews reported that her doctor said she wasn’t contagious because it wasn’t viral pneumonia. Well, I’m just an old country doctor, but there are plenty of bacterial pneumonias that are contagious. Ever heard of something called tuberculosis? Pretty darn contagious, I’d say.
It’s been reported that Husband Bill said maybe she should go to the hospital, but she doesn’t listen much to him, I guess. She went to her daughter Chelsea’s apartment instead where she hung out, leaving only to get a close-up photo op with a little girl, possibly something best done wearing a face mask, as a number of her staff were reported as having the same bug.
Hillary will recover from her pneumonia, but the big question is: “What’s going on in her brain?”. She has hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by low thyroid hormone levels. If not controlled, it can lead to a number of problems, including difficulty remembering things. Indeed, she might be telling the truth when she says to congressional committees that she doesn’t recall issues relating to her email scandal.
Of more concern is her history of blood clots. She experienced a blood clot behind her knee in 1998 and another was reported in 2000, leading to the need for blood thinners. She took a nasty fall that broke her elbow in 2009, and a stomach virus dehydrated her so much in 2012 that she fainted and hit her head, causing a concussion. Later on, a blood clot was identified in blood vessels leading to her brain, a possibly life-threatening conditions that could have long-lasting effects. According to the medical director of the hospital, the clot was most likely caused by dehydration brought on by the flu.
Is it just dehydration that’s causing her medical issues, past and present? You’d think her staff would be on top of that problem.
With the hectic schedule that a presidential candidate and, later, a president has to keep, traveling all over the world, you’ve got to be in pretty good shape to handle the pressure. With a 68 year old woman and a 70 year old man in the running, it’d be nice to know that they won’t keel over the day after they’re elected. Let’s see actual medical records, to be fair, from both of them (Trump will reveal his on Dr. Oz), just like John McCain provided when he ran for president. He was an older candidate too, and to his credit, he provided a ton of medical records that showed he could handle the rigors of the office.
The bottom line is that Hillary Clinton is favored by most to win, but may not be up to the task of being president. What happens if Madame President falters soon after election and is incapacitated? Never happen, you say? Well, just look back a hundred years and you’ll see that it’s a perfectly possible scenario.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson, a democrat, was experiencing a rough time getting congress to agree to join the League of Nations, a precursor to the UN. Congress didn’t go for the idea because it took away some sovereign rights and gave Wilson a hard time, so hard that he suffered a stroke; he became totally incapacitated with a paralyzed left side and a blind left eye.
For the next two months, only his wife, Edith Bolling Wilson, his doctors, and a few close friends were able to see him. Even after the president improved somewhat, it was clear he was not his former self nor up to the task of being president. The First Lady took it upon herself to, informally, assume many presidential responsibilities.
Her concern was to keep the American government running in her husband’s absence. Edith personally thought that Thomas Marshall, the vice president, was incapable of being a good president. No mechanism was in place to deal with a president that wasn’t all there until the passage of the 25th amendment 50 years later. So Edith limited access to Mr. Wilson, discussed important issues with congress, met with the cabinet, and decided what matters would be brought to the President for the remainder of his term.
She ran a tight ship, so tight that few in the general public realized that the president was ill until after he died a few years after his term finished. There you have it, Edith Wilson, our first female president.
Now, in a topsy turvy way, the same thing might happen in a Hillary Clinton presidency. If a medical event incapacitates Hillary, the first husband, Bill, would very likely become the shadow president, making decisions and holding meetings just like the good/bad old days when he was in charge. This won’t matter to Democrats, who will keep quiet about the whole thing. Indeed, they’ll probably prefer working with him behind the scenes than Madame President.
So the wheels are in motion, not for Obama’s, but perhaps for Bill Clinton’s third term. Of course, that’s unless the tide changes and Donald Trump wins the election, but don’t count on Democrats leaving the Hillary camp just because she might collapse and spend most of her term on bedrest. They’ll be pleased as punch to have Ol’ Bill as the hush-hush commander-in-chief. And no one knows how to keep a secret better than the Clintons.
Joe Alton MD