What’s wrong with Hillary? The question has been whispered loudly for months, and the buzz grew downright audible a few weeks back following a coughing fit at a Cleveland campaign event. Secretary Clinton attributed her severe, prolonged coughing to allergies, and most folks had a predictable response. If you are a Hillary health “truther”, you likely found this to be a smoking gun demonstrating her mystery illness. If you are a Hillary supporter, you likely scoffed at the growing conspiracy chorus. If you don’t care about politics, you most likely shrugged and went about your day. That all changed this weekend, however, when Secretary Clinton’s health concerns went from fringe conspiracy to “legitimate campaign issue”. Long story short, Mrs. Clinton left a 9/11 memorial event early, feeling faint and escorted by several agents. Video shows her legs giving out as she tries to enter her car. A few hours later, she emerged from her daughter’s nearby apartment looking considerably freshened and saying that she felt much better. Her campaign later confirmed that she has been battling pneumonia.
Both supporters and detractors predictably swarmed as above. ‘The media is harassing her for being sick, just likely everyone else!’ ‘If it’s so innocent, why were reporters not allowed in the car, and kept in the dark for two hours?’ I cannot speak to the political optics here, but I can speak to pneumonia, and Secretary Clinton’s illness makes perfect clinical sense to me. If I were presenting this as a case and taking some presumptive liberties with what treatments were likely administered in Chelsea Clinton’s apartment, here is what I saw in the three videos (Cleveland, New York in the morning, and New York at noon):
A 68-year-old female patient with a history of hypothyroidism and allergic rhinitis (‘seasonal allergies’) presents with a 2-week history of congestion and productive (i.e., a "wet")cough, which is sporadically severe during lengthy, uninterrupted speech (i.e., the Cleveland coughing fit). The patient works extensive hours and travels frequently, despite recommendations to rest. After 90 minutes outdoors, the patient exhibits dizziness, lightheadedness, and syncope (‘fainting’), and reports feeling overheated. The patient is removed to a climate controlled environment and [PRESUMPTIVELY] administered nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to alleviate fever, rehydration solutions, and possibly an inhaled steroid (such as Symbicort) or β2 agonist (such as albuterol) via nebulizer. Following rehydration and fever reduction, the patient regained alertness. Breathing treatment and rehydration alleviated clinical signs of syncope. The patient rested for approximately 90 minutes before returning to the street fully alert and afebrile (i.e., walking, talking, and fever-free).[PRESUMPTIVE] She was then subjected to a chest X-ray, which showed signs of broncho- or interstitial pneumonia (‘walking pneumonia’). The patient was prescribed azithromycin, breathing treatments as needed, and ordered to remain on bed rest for 48 hours.
Clinical Development Summary: The patient’s uncontrolled seasonal allergies created prolonged nasal and chest congestion (‘stuffiness’). The presence of mucous in the airway combined with her demanding schedule and exposure to crowds predisposed her to developing secondary bacterial pneumonia, which led to the development of fever, dehydration, shortness of breath, and syncope. Antibiotics and fever control will resolve the secondary pneumonia. The patient must alter maintenance medications to better control her ongoing underlying condition of allergic rhinitis.
So….what’s wrong with Hillary? I’d obviously be foolish to declare something without any access to her clinical information above what is publically known, but…. pneumonia as conceptually mapped below makes plenty of sense to me. For what it’s worth, take this diagnosis as both a testament to her work ethic, and an indication that perhaps we as a society demand a bit too much when a sick day causes a crisis of confidence.