Coppedge: Questions about Hillary Clinton

Source: Longview News Journal
By John R. Coppedge
Sept. 12, 2016 at 10 a.m.

I write today about Hillary Clinton’s health problems. Her supporters and most of the mainstream media have lumped those who raise questions about her health into a basket of right wing conspirators.

The events of 9-11 in New York have made those same folks now say her health issues perhaps should be examined after all.

Her getting “overheated” at an event where the temperature was 79 degrees was a poor first excuse for the collapse, which was caught on video. After a few hours, the campaign released a statement saying had been diagnosed with pneumonia Friday and started on antibiotics to try to explain and minimize the damage caused by the video, which by then had gone viral.

Pneumonia might explain her coughing. But because she has been having coughing fits for a long time are they trying to tell us she had pneumonia for months and it was not diagnosed and treated before?

And why did they not say that Friday? That would have been an explanation for the troublesome coughing fits and pushed back on that issue.

But that would have raised more questions, as discussed below.

Sir Walter Scott got it right 200 years ago when he wrote: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!”

The event captured on video is not something usually seen simply as a result of pneumonia in an otherwise healthy person. The video taken 90 minutes later of a smiling Hillary Clinton suggests the preceding episode was a distinct event consistent with some sort of transient central nervous system problem.

One question that needs to be asked is why she has pneumonia? Because she was given antiobiotics, it is presumed the diagnosis was a bacterial pneumonia rather than a viral pneumonia. An ancillary question is how was the diagnosis made? Was a chest X-ray done? Or was this a “clinical diagnosis?”

Bacterial pneumonia does not commonly occur in otherwise healthy patients. It usually occurs in patients with a depressed immune system, chronic lung disease or some other predisposing cause.

One of the major causes of pneumonia is aspiration. That is where food, saliva or regurgitated stomach contents inappropriately enter the lungs. That can occur in patients who lose consciousness, have a reduced level of alertness from excess alcohol intake or sedative medications, as a result of esophageal disorders like gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux), in patients with dental problems that interfere with chewing or swallowing, as a complication of general anesthesia, in patients being tube fed, or in patients with dysphagia — difficulty swallowing.

Major reasons for dysphagia are:

1.) Loss of sphincter muscle relaxation (termed “achalasia”) in the esophagus.

2.) Esophageal narrowing such as from acid reflux or tumors.

3.) Disturbances of the brain such as those caused by Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

4.) Oral or pharynx muscle dysfunction such as from a stroke.

Obviously I have not examined Mrs. Clinton nor have I seen her medical records. This is written not to make a diagnosis but to point out the need not only for release of her old medical records but for a complete, independent medical exam including a thorough neurologic exam by a respected neurologist.

Questions that need to be asked and answered:

1.) Does she have any signs of residual brain/neurologic damage now? (Exam by her internist is not good enough. She needs a thorough exam by a neurologist and X-rays and other imaging to truly give her a clean bill of health.)

2.) Did she have a skull fracture in 2012 at the time of her traumatic brain injury-concussion?

3.) Did she have a subdural hematoma-bleeding around the brain and/or an intra-parenchymal bleed in 2012?

4.) Does she still have a blood clot in a transverse sinus? How has this been followed? Repeat MRI or MRV?

5.) Has she ever been evaluated for increased intracranial pressure and swelling of her brain? (a normal visual exam of the eye does not exclude it. Only 10 percent of patients with documented increased intracranial pressure exhibit papilledema — swelling at the back of the eye, directly visible by looking at the optic disc in the retina with an ophthalmoscope)

6.) Does she have a swallowing disorder?

7.) Does she have significant mobility/balance/strength issues? Vertigo?

8.) Does a follow up CT or MRI reveal any sign of structural damage, scar or hemosiderin deposits in/on her brain as a result of her injury? (they are considered foci of potential seizures — and cognitive dysfunction)

9.) Has she had formal neuro-psychological testing as would be done on any high school athlete post-concussion before allowing them to go back to play?

10.) Does she have Parkinson’s disease or some other degenerative disease?

If the answers to these questions would give Mrs. Clinton a clean bill of health one has to wonder why in the world she would not release her records and undergo a current exam. If the answers would not clear her, it is understandable why she might not. But if that were to be the case, it is disturbing that her ambition would make her place the country in jeopardy.

— Dr. John R. Coppedge, a resident of rural Longview, is a retired surgeon and occasional contributor to the News-Journal.

Editor’s note: Coppedge earlier wrote about the health issues of the presidential candidates Sept. 6 when he released a national poll of 833 registered voters’ opinions on the issues. That article and the poll and its data can be viewed at QuorumReport.com. Once on the site, click on the R&D button at the top of the home page and scroll down to the article. Harvey Kronberg’s Quorum Report is normally a pay to view site but this posting has been made available to the general public to view.

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