Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, her doctor revealed Sunday after the Democratic presidential candidate suddenly and unexpectedly left a 9/11 ceremony and was caught on camera struggling to walk as she was helped into a waiting vehicle.
The departure and the video quickly threatened to overwhelm the campaign, making mainstream what until now had been questions largely from the right about the status of her health in the wake of several long bouts of coughing at events.
Clinton’s campaign at first said nothing about her departure Sunday. Aides then said she had felt overheated at the outdoor ceremony and quickly recovered at her daughter’s Manhattan apartment. Under growing questions about her health, the campaign hours later released a statement from Clinton’s doctor saying they had known since Friday she has pneumonia.
“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies,” Dr. Lisa R. Bardack said in the statement. “On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule.”
The doctor also addressed Sunday’s episode, saying she had examined the 68-year-old former Secretary of State at the Clinton home in suburban New York.
“While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”
Since the Friday diagnosis, Clinton did maintain a schedule of events, including a Friday evening fund raiser at which she described half of rival Donald Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” and Sunday’s memorial on the 15h anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The Associated Press and CNN both reported late Sunday that Clinton’s planned fundraising trip to California on Monday had been canceled.
While Trump uncharacteristically refrained from commenting, the image of her almost falling to the ground on the way to the car – captured on an amateur video – is certain to give a broader voice to questions about her health and how candid she has been about it.
Clinton has actually released far more information about her health than Trump, who is older. But her medical report is now more than a year old, and the persistent coughing has raised eyebrows even before Sunday.
What the country does know from past reports is that Clinton has hypothyroidism, seasonal pollen allergies and takes blood thinners as a precaution against clots, according to a two-page letter from Dr. Bardack released by her campaign in July 2015.
In December 2012, Clinton fainted and suffered a concussion after suffering from a stomach virus and dehydration that prevented her from initially testifying before Congress, which was investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack. She was later found to have a clot and double vision, causing her to wear glasses with a “Fresnel Prism.”
A 2013 follow-up visit showed that Clinton had no more effects from the concussion and tested negative for all blood clotting disorders, her doctor said.
“She is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States,” wrote Bardack, chairman of internal medicine at the Mount Kisco Medical Group.
Bardack said Clinton does not smoke or use illicit drugs and drinks alcohol occasionally. She takes the blood thinner Coumadin, Vitamin B12, Armour Thyroid and antihistamines.
“She eats a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables and fruits,” her doctor wrote. “She exercises regularly, including yoga, swimming, walking and weight training.”
At the time, she was up to date on regular colonoscopy and gynecologic exams, mammograms and breast ultrasounds. Her most recent physical at the time of the report was conducted on March 21, 2015.
Clinton’s family history includes a father who died of a stroke and a mother who died from congestive heart failure. She has two brothers, one of whom has premature heart disease.
Clinton and Trump are two of the oldest major party nominees ever for president.
At 70, Trump would be older than the nation’s oldest president, Ronald Reagan, who was 69 on Inauguration Day. Clinton would be the second oldest, at 69 just about 8 months younger than Reagan.
When Clinton felt ill Sunday, she went to her daughter’s apartment in New York without the media who travel with her daily. The reporters were told about 90 minutes later where she was.
“Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for an hour and thirty minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said. “During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter’s apartment, and is feeling much better.”
Clinton emerged before noon. “I’m feeling great, it’s a beautiful day in New York.” she said, walking out wearing sunglasses.
Trump was also attending the 9/11 event. In recent weeks, Trump and Republicans have sought to cast doubts about Clinton’s fitness for office.
Trump has released little on his health, though he is expected to give an hour-long interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz on The Dr. Oz Show this week.
He previously released released a letter from his longtime doctor, gastroenterologist Harold Bornstein, that has been mocked by Democrats and doctors. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual elected to the presidency,” Bornstein wrote last year. Trump’s blood pressure and lab results were “astonishingly excellent” and “his physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” he wrote.
This version corrects day of California trip to Monday.