Give both major-party candidates this much credit — they’re sneaking up on full transparency on their medical records. Yesterday Hillary Clinton released a statement from her personal physician attesting to her fine health status, a day before returning to the campaign trail after the supposedly healthy woman collapsed on Sunday in public view. Today, the Trump campaign released a similar letter from his physician, a day after handing it over to Dr. Oz:
Frankly, Trump scores better on some of these measures than I do, and I don’t eat nearly as much fast food as Trump does. Most of this is unremarkable, which is the point of the letter — it’s to declare Trump normal and a safe bet for a four-year contract. If he’s only taking aspirin and a maintenance dose of a statin at 70 years of age, that in itself is pretty impressive. The only points of curiosity are the revelation that Trump doesn’t drink alcohol, and that for some reason the doctor felt compelled to reveal his testosterone level. Don’t expect a beer summit in a Trump presidency, in other words, but maybe we’ll get a round or two of American Gladiator if necessary to settle disputes.
One more interesting point: the release includes a letter attesting to the status of Trump’s doctor at Lenox Hospital through next year. Dr. Harold Bornstein describes his experience in the preamble to Trump’s medical status, too. Perhaps both the campaign and the doctor himself were stung by their treatment in the media when Bornstein wrote his first letter attesting to Trump’s “excellent physical health.” This time, Team Trump wants to emphasize Bornstein’s credibility.
That would make for an interesting credibility challenge, if the media really wanted to treat this fairly. Which doctor seems more credible? The one who looks like an aging glam rocker and wrote a quick summary from a limo based on 36 years of attending his patient, or the one who’s insisting that the woman who collapsed on a street in New York City is totes healthy and up to the task of the presidency? Hmmmmm.
Addendum: Scott Johnson at Power Line has a letter from a prominent internist about the letter of good health from Dr. Bardack about Hillary Clinton. He’s unconvinced, to say the least:
In addition to being a board-certified internist I am also board-certified in nephrology, the field of kidney disease. I am therefore expert on how the body handles fluids and electrolytes. As such, I find Bill’s explanation wholly unpersuasive. Severe dehydration does not occur easily, especially in people who live Hillary’s sedentary type of lifestyle. Perhaps President Clinton was trying to say that Hillary has a problem with fainting spells. But a number of possible serious illnesses involving the heart or nervous system that may also present in this manner were not addressed in Dr. Bardack’s letter. …
Moreover, the video taken of Hillary collapsing suggests more than this being just a “dizzy” spell. Finally, about 90 or so minutes after she collapsed Hillary appeared outside her daughter’s apartment appearing fine. In my experience the degree of “dehydration” that would cause someone to collapse the way she did cannot be reversed in 90 minutes. In fact, it would usually require placement of an intravenous catheter for infusion of fluids and close observation for at least several hours.
But the campaign has been so honest with voters about this episode! Oh, wait …
Questions about the health of both presidential nominees have been raised by many critics and commentators. But a series of public coughing fits over the last few weeks have focused most of the attention on Hillary Clinton. When questions arose, mainly from partisans opposed to her candidacy, the Clinton campaign cited allergies as the issue and castigated the partisans for conspiratorial thinking. The media professed its profound disinterest in the question of health, despite making a big issue of it in 2008 with Republican nominee John McCain. Last week, The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza, one of those who demanded detailed medical information from McCain, wondered: “Can we just stop talking about Hillary Clinton’s health now?”
Then on Sunday, Clinton collapsed while leaving a 9/11 memorial event early. The Clinton campaign refused to make any statement about her health except that she had “overheated” and needed to rehydrate. Clinton emerged from her daughter’s flat in Manhattan later in the day and hugged a child, proclaiming herself well, only to be followed hours later with cancellations of two days’ events in California — and an admission by her physician that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier.
I’m sure they’re telling the truth now. Trust them!