This weekend, Hillary Clinton had a very public stumble, and even the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza admitted her health had become a major campaign issue (one week after dismissing the issue out of hand). The video of her fainting after the 9/11 memorial ceremony went viral, but even that video is one in a long list of public struggles Clinton has had with her health.
To be fair, anyone at age 68 (69 in October) would likely have some kind of ongoing chronic medical condition, and Donald Trump likely has at least one of his own. That being said, the list of Clinton’s health maladies is long and publicly documented. It involves a number of recurring themes, especially blood clots and coughing fits. Many of her maladies are likely time-limited, and there is no guarantee that she still suffers from her 2012 concussion, for example.
Here is the list of public health struggles Clinton has had, in chronological order, since 1998. Ultimately, the voters must decide whether or not these threaten her suitability for the presidency.
1. A “potentially fatal” blood clot in 1998.
In October 2007, then-Senator Hillary Clinton told the New York Daily News about a “potentially fatal scare in 1998.” While she was campaigning for Chuck Schumer in New York, her right foot started swelling and causing her pain. At Bethesda Naval Hospital, doctors diagnosed a large blood clot behind her right knee.
“That was scary because you have to treat it immediately — you don’t want to take the risk that it will break lose and travel to your brain, or your heart or your lungs,” Clinton told the Daily News. “That was the most significant health scare I’ve ever had.”
She stopped taking blood thinners after that clot, and otherwise had good health since, the paper reported. Clinton has been back on blood thinners following later blood clots.
2. February 1, 2005: Clinton faints during campaign speech.
At a campaign event in upstate New York, Clinton reportedly fainted during her own remarks. “She told the crowd she was queasy,” Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan told CNN. She told the crowd she felt warm, then left the room.
“Upon her return, at about 12:15 p.m., the senator fainted as her staff placed the microphone in front of her,” Lenihan recalled. Secret Service agents then surrounded the former first lady, and four people broke her fall.
“She has had a GI virus — an acute gastrointestinal illness — and she has been sick for at least a day and she needed some fluids; she needed to sit down and relax,” Dr. Stephanie Pincus, a New York doctor and professor at the University of Buffalo, told CNN.
Interestingly, Clinton did not go to a hospital, and no ambulance was called, according to reports. “She received immediate medical attention at the site and is now proceeding with her schedule as planned,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s press secretary at the time, told CNN. Clinton avoiding hospitals — for whatever reason — has been a theme of her health episodes for years.
Next Page: An elbow fracture, a second blood clot, and a public stumble.
3. June 17, 2009: A massive elbow fracture.
A few months after beginning her duties as secretary of State, Clinton fell and fractured her right elbow while walking to her car in the State Department basement, the New York Times reported. At George Washington University Hospital, doctors determined that the break would require surgery. A State Department spokesman later added that she went home, canceled her public schedule, and was still reading papers and making calls, despite the injury.
The surgery was successful, and Clinton made a full recovery.
4. 2009: A second blood clot, “deep vein thrombosis.”
In July 2015, Clinton’s doctor, Lisa Bardack, released a statement about Hillary Clinton’s health. Among other things, the statement revealed that Clinton had another major blood clot in 2009. “Her past medical history is notable for a deep vein thrombosis in 1998 and in 2009,” Bardack wrote.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs.” DVT “is a serious condition because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).”
5. January 12, 2011: Clinton stumbles boarding plane.
While boarding a plane from Yemen to Oman, the secretary of State tripped and fell. Here is the video:
Next Page: The concussion.
6. December 15, 2012: The concussion.
In December 2012, Clinton skipped an overseas trip due to a stomach virus she caught while visiting Europe. While indisposed, she fainted and fell, sustaining a concussion, which the State Department publicized on December 15.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that she “was recovering at home after the incident last week and is being monitored by doctors.” The secretary missed a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about the September 11 attack that year in Benghazi, Libya.
7. December 31, 2012: The third blood clot.
During a follow-up examination for the concussion, doctors at New York-Presbyterian Hospital discovered another dangerous blood clot. “Mrs. Clinton’s blood clot formed in a large vein along the side of her head, behind her right ear, between the brain and the skull,” the New York Times reported.
She began taking blood thinners around the time of her hospital discharge on January 2, 2013.
8. January 24, 2013: Fresnel lenses to prevent “seeing double.”
On January 24, the State Department confirmed that Clinton was wearing special glasses as a result of the fall and concussion.
Dr. Mark Fromer, medical director of Fromer Eye Centers, told the New York Daily News that Clinton likely had a Fresnel prism placed on her glasses. “If she’s wearing a Fresnel prism, then she has double vision without it,” Fromer said. The press-on prism, which can also be used to treat muscle weakness in the eye, “helps bring images into focus.”
An anonymous eye doctor from Manhattan said that double vision would be “the only reason” for the secretary of State to wear the stick-on. “That’s the only thing I can think of with vertical lines in there. If you can see it, it’s more like a stick-on that’s temporary — that you can peel off.” Fresnel prisms can be ground into lenses for longer-term use, and in those cases the prism would not be visible.
Bardack also confirmed that Clinton “experienced double vision for a period of time and benefitted from wearing glasses with a Fresnel prism,” in her 2015 letter. “Her concussion symptoms, including the double vision, resolved within two months.”
Next Page: But Bill Clinton said the recovery took six months…
9. May 14, 2014: Bill says the recovery took six months.
While Bardack wrote in 2015 that Clinton’s symptoms resolved in two months, former President Bill Clinton revealed that the recovery took three times that long. The former secretary of State’s injury “required six months of very serious work to get over,” the former president said.
Bill Clinton’s remarks contradicted a State Department spokeswoman who told reporters in January 2013 that the secretary had recovered. “Judging by the woman we saw this morning and the workload that she’s got she seems to be fully recovered,” she said, about one month after the fall and concussion occurred.
10. July 31, 2015: Bardack’s letter and statement.
In her public statement declaring Clinton fit to serve as president, her doctor, Lisa Bardack, revealed two other conditions she has: hypothyroidism and allergies.
Hypothyroidism refers to an under-active thyroid gland, resulting in a lack of important hormones. Bardack did not reveal how long Clinton has suffered from this condition, but she did explain that Clinton is taking “Armour Thyroid, a thyroid hormone replacement.”
The former secretary of State also suffers from “seasonal allergies,” and like with Hypothyroidism, Bardack did not reveal how long Clinton has had this condition. For these, the presidential candidate is taking antihistamines.
Finally, Bardack revealed that Clinton is taking Coumadin, a blood thinner used to prevent new clots from forming. “Her Coumadin dose is being monitored regularly and she has experienced no side-effects from her medications.”
Next Page: Coughing fits.
11. October 22, 2015: A coughing fit at the Benghazi hearing.
During her marathon testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Clinton broke into a coughing fit until she reached for a lozenge. Here is the video:
To be fair, Clinton has long been prone to coughing spells when speaking for extended periods of time, as the Washington Post‘s Callum Borchers reported. He argued that “mainstream media outlets haven’t made a big deal of Clinton’s coughing because, as Dr. Philip Weintraub explained last fall to an inquiring patient … it probably doesn’t indicate anything more than a dry throat brought on by prolonged talking.” Even so, the coughing never sounds good.
12. February 16, 2016: Coughing fit in New York.
While speaking in Harlem about systemic racism, the presidential candidate broke down into another coughing fit. Here’s the video:
Dr. Jonathan Aviv, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, told Inside Edition that this was “not just cough. There’s some hoarseness, there (sic) some throat clearing, in fact there’s frequent throat clearing. When you have these trio of symptoms, you have to think of what I call throat burn reflux, which is acid reflux affecting the throat.”
Aviv actually said that a lozenge is not the best solution for an acid reflux attack, and suggested a breathing technique instead.
13. July 21, 2016: A seizure on camera?!
This video is quite disturbing.
14. September 5, 2016: Another coughing fit on stage.
In early September, Clinton had yet another coughing fit in Cleveland, Ohio. Here’s the video:
Here is a timeline of eight coughing fits during this year.
Next Page: Pneumonia diagnosis and September 11.
15. September 9, 2016: Diagnosed with pneumonia.
The presidential candidate was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday, and the BBC reported that even most of her team was kept in the dark.
16. September 11, 2016: The fainting and final release of information.
Ninety minutes into the September 11 commemoration in New York City, Clinton left early. Her staff first cited heat and exhaustion. Then this video of her entering the campaign van went viral:
Hillary Clinton 9/11 NYC pic.twitter.com/q9YnsjTxss
— Zdenek Gazda (@zgazda66) September 11, 2016
Here is an even better angle of the clunky stumble Hillary experienced as she entered the van:
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) September 11, 2016
Once she got in the van, the former secretary of State went to her daughter Chelsea’s apartment. The New York Post alleged that Clinton was on her way to the Bellevue Hospital emergency room, but the campaign redirected her to Chelsea’s apartment “to keep details of her medical treatment under wraps.” Clinton later left her daughter’s apartment in an unconvincing public display of health and stamina, which sparked a conspiracy theory that the campaign used a body double for this effect (after all, the Hillary Clinton who left Chelsea’s apartment had no body guards…).
Later on Sunday, the campaign released the pneumonia diagnosis an Bardack put out a statement. While attending the event, Clinton “became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely,” Bardack reported.
“There’s no other undisclosed condition. The pneumonia is the extent of it,” Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told MSNBC on Monday. The fact that he thought it necessary to clarify that the campaign wasn’t hiding anything more speaks volumes. “I think in retrospect we could have handled it better in terms of providing more information more quickly.”