In a heart­beat, health takes the stage

Trump goes on ‘Dr. Oz’ while Clin­ton’s doc­tor de­clares her fit

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Noah Bier­man and Evan Halper Los An­ge­les Times staff writer Noam N. Levey con­trib­uted.

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.’ ”

SONY PIC­TURES EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

BREN­DAN SMIALOWSKI/GETTY-AFP

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