In a heartbeat, health takes the stage
Trump goes on ‘Dr. Oz’ while Clinton’s doctor declares her fit
WASHINGTON — One candidate posts pictures of himself eating fried chicken and a taco bowl and says he’s 15 or 20 pounds overweight. The other hid a pneumonia diagnosis until it knocked her off the campaign trail.
It took awhile, but health has suddenly vaulted to prominence in the race between the oldest pair of presidential nominees in history.
Donald Trump reacted with the misdirection, flair and controversy of a reality television reveal and Hillary Clinton with a document release Wednesday following days of growing demands. Neither has circulated the type of detailed and extensive medical records that voters have come to expect.
A new letter from Clinton’s physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, explained the pneumonia diagnosis that prompted her to pause campaigning this week and otherwise offered mostly the same information about Clinton’s health that Bardack shared in a letter morethan year ago. The new letter says she has evaluated Clinton several times since she nearly collapsed Sunday after becoming overheated and dizzy during a Sept. 11 memorial event at ground zero in New York.
Before the episode, a noncontrast chest CT scan revealed that Clinton, 68, had a small right middle-lobe pneumonia, according to Bardack. Bardack writes that it is a mild, noncontagious form of the bacterial infection. Clinton was prescribed the medication Levaquin and directed to take it for 10 days. Bardack wrote that Clinton “continues to improve.”
Clinton continues to take medication for an underactive thyroid, as well as the blood-thinning medication Coumadin, the doctor also reported. She also takes allergy medication and vitamin B12. The doctor shared various results from Clinton’s physical examsuggesting she is otherwise in good health.
“The remainder of her complete physical exam was normal and she is in excellent mental condition,” the doctor wrote. “She is recovering well with antibiotics and rest. She continues to Donald Trump sits with Dr. Mehmet Oz, left, in a program that’s scheduled to air Thursday. Hillary Clinton acknowledges the media Sunday after leaving her daughter’s apartment. remain healthy and fit to serve as president.”
Trump, 70, has been eager to raise questions about Clinton’s health, questioning her strength and stamina on the campaign trail. But his disclosures have been even less specific.
In December, he provided a much-ridiculed letter, drafted by his physician, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein. He declared that Trump, if he wins, would be the “healthiest individual ever elected.”
After Clinton left the campaign trail to recuperate from pneumonia, Trump said he had taken a physical exam last week and planned to release the results this week.
Trump had scheduled a taping of “The Dr. Oz Show” for Wednesday, suggesting he would discuss the results there. Dr. Mehmet Oz, whose promotion of products and unfounded advice has made him controversial in the medical community, also hyped the show with that in mind, saying in a Fox radio interview that he planned to ask Trump pointed questions, yet would only cover issues Trump wanted to discuss.
But just before Wednesday’s taping, Trump’s staff tried to downplay expectations, saying he would instead discuss broader health topics and that Trump’s exam results would be released later.
Reporters were not allowed into the show, which is scheduled for broadcast Thursday. But in a tease, producers released a clip showing Trump pulling two letters from his suit pocket as the audience claps.
“Should I do it?” Trump asks the audience. “I don’t care. Should I do it? It’s two letters. One is the report, and the other is from Lenox Hill Hospital” in New York.
“May I see them?” Oz asks, taking the documents to begin reading them.
Oz “took Mr. Trump through a full review of” his family medical history, nervous system, respiratory health and other systems, according to a news release from Oz’s show..
Trump said he wanted to lose 15 to 20 pounds, audience members told Politico. Another attendee told NBC News that the report showed that he takes a statin to reduce cholesterol and that his blood pressure is good.
The information typically gathered at a physical exam can provide a useful picture of a patient’s health, said Dr. Nitin S. Damle, president of the American College of Physicians.
But Damle cautioned that such exams are hardly definitive. “We can’t clear you,” he said. “We can only say you don’t have risks for this or that. … It drives me crazy whenpeople say, ‘I amtotally healthy because I got a clean physical.’ ”