Trump supporters have been pushing a meme recently that Hillary Clinton has epilepsy, Alzheimer's, or some similar disease. Rudy Giuliani promoted these medical rumors when he said, “Go online and put down ‘Hillary Clinton illness,’ take a look at the videos for yourself.”
That's an interesting way of diagnosing Hillary's medical condition. Just for fun, go to Google and type in "Rudy Giuliani child molestor" and see what comes up.
Questioning Hillary's health is nothing new for her critics. They've been doing it since at least December 2012 after she fell and had a concussion. However those who claim she is not medically fit to serve as president ignore two crucial things. First, her physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, examined her in March 2015 and released a letter in July 2015 that concluded "She is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States". The letter acknowledged that she had suffered effects such as double vision from her 2012 concussion but that these symptoms stopped after two months. Her follow-up testing in 2013 revealed that the effects of the concussion had been completely resolved. The second thing Clinton's critics ignore is that Hillary Clinton survived a nearly 11-hour grilling during her Benghazi testimony in October 2015. This Republican Inquisition would have tested the stamina and patience of even the most robust amongst us. Yet according to the Los Angeles Times, "Clinton maintained a relentlessly calm and smiling demeanor, showing few visible signs of fatigue other than a hoarse throat that began to develop in the 10th hour." If Clinton was still suffering from the effects of her concussion then surely one of the Republicans on the Benghazi Committee who was out for her blood would have noticed and spoken up about it.
However, none of this matters to those who are out to get Hillary. One went so far as to post a fake medical document bearing Dr. Bardack's signature claiming that Clinton suffered seizures, blackouts, and uncontrollable twtiching. The nonpartisan organization FactCheck.org thoroughly debunked this forged document while tearing apart Republican claims about Hillary's ill health.
Perhaps no individual has done more to spur recent accusations that Hillary is medically unfit for office than Dr. Jane Orient, a doctor with a respectable academic background who is. . . . shall we say, well outside the medical mainstream. She is the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a far-right group that opposes any health care reform, abortions, organ donations, and mandatory vaccinations. There is no evidence that Dr. Orient has any particular expertise in neurological diseases, much less that she is qualified to diagnose neurological diseases by watching a few videos on the internet. Yet that is exactly what she's done in this post to the AAPS website. Is it just a coincidence that in the same post she made it very obvious in the first few paragraphs that sympathizes with Donald Trump and his supporters? There is no reason for me to spend a lot of time debunking her since some of her claims were debunked in the FactCheck.org post mentioned earlier and she has been thoroughly eviscerated by this post by the Skeptical Raptor.
Kurt Eichenwald, a senior writer for Newsweek who has epilepsy, has called those who spread false rumors that Hillary Clinton has epilepsy a bunch of "amoral sociopaths". (Watch the video) Eichenwald elaborated on this in his column entitled "SEAN HANNITY:APOLOGIZE TO THOSE WITH EPILEPSY OR BURN IN HELL"
Hannity and his ilk have gone too far with their recent lies about Hillary Clinton’s health, a conspiracy theory conservative media groups have seized upon with no regard for truth. They have used misrepresented photos, theories from quacks and other nonsense to back up their story line.
And then came a video of Clinton making goofy movements with her head when a reporter held a tape recorder very close to her face. Being pulled in different directions by multiple speakers at once, Clinton playfully acted like a bobblehead doll, smiling and then speaking after the joke was over.
Hannity and his lying pals shrieked: Clinton had a seizure! Right in front of the cameras! “Are there many seizures like that?” Hannity said. “This looks like violent, out of control movements on her part.”
I know this response to Sean Hannity is a little raw, but as someone with epilepsy, I hope my editors will let this slip through: Fuck you, Sean. Your willingness to deceive your viewers—to degrade those of us with epilepsy, to suggest something is a seizure when it looks nothing like one, to leave people dumber about this condition—is unforgivable.
Eichenwald, who suffers seizures, explains why the videos that purport to show Hillary suffering a seizure do no such thing:
What makes it worse, other than Hannity’s willingness to convey the message to millions of children that their place in society should be limited because of their seizures, is that he has painted a false image of what seizures look like and what to do about them. People do not smile during a seizure while standing upright and then immediately launch into a coherent sentence. There’s no smiling because, if for some reason the person experiencing the seizure has not collapsed to the ground in unconsciousness, the moment the body begins to move uncontrollably is terrifying. After a seizure, someone does not instantly jump back into a conversation, making jokes. Instead there is a period of at least 5 minutes (and often much longer) when the person is unable to think clearly, is very confused, can have trouble speaking and other problems.
Last December Donald Trump released what looked like a fake doctor's note that was addressed "To Whom My Concern" and concluded "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." It is hard to imagine a real doctor who wanted to be taken seriously making this claim without having first examined every president going back to George Washington.
The letter, supposedly written by Dr. Harold Bornstein, also stated, "Mr. Trump has had a recent complete medical examination that showed only positive results. Actually, his blood pressure 110/65, and laboratory results were astonishingly excellent." This sounds more like the exaggerated puffery we have come to expect from Donald Trump. I encourage you to read the letter from Trump's doctor and compare it with the letter from Clinton's doctor to determine which doctor seems more professional and genuine. Actually, Kurt Eichenwald has already done this, and the results are amusing. Amongst other things, Eichenwald notes that the letterhead contains a link to a bogus website as well as Dr. Bornstein's gmail address, something that is unusual because doctors generally don't want their patients contacting them through email. However, the most thorough takedown of Dr. Bornstein's letter was written by Dr. Jennifer Gunter. As a real MD she is far more qualified than I or Kurt Eichenwald or the many, many people who have commented on and laughed at Dr. Bornstein's letter. Read her column and I'll bet you'll be as convinced as I was that Trump's letter was not written by a real doctor.
All right. Here is whare I admit I was wrong. I was 100% sure that Trump's note was not written by a real doctor. And then Doctor Harold Bornstein stepped forward and claimed that he did in fact write the letter. He said the letter was so sloppily written because he was in a rush. He said he gets flustered when he's rushed and he only had five minutes to jot down a quick letter to Trump's team who were waiting in a black car nearby. (Watch the video)
I call BULLSHIT for several reasons.
First, Dr. Bornstein said in the video, "His health is excellent. Particularly his mental health. He thinks he's the best, of which it works out just fine. He would be fit because I think that his brain is turned on 24 hours a day."
Dr. Bornstein is a gastroenterologist and is certified in internal medicine. However, he does not have a degree in psychiatry or psychology and is thus not qualified to evaluate Trump's mental health. And it doesn't take a degree in psychology to recognize that a brain that is turned on 24 hours a day is not a healthy brain. Being sleep deprived leads to bad decisions. Never going to sleep can lead to death.
Second, why would Dr. Bornstein rush to turn out this mess of a letter in five minutes? As Dr. Gunter notes:
I would never write anything this terrible for a jury duty excuse or a back to work note, never mind something that half the country (and possibly half the world) might see or could possibly end up one day in a presidential library!
Third, the close of Dr. Bornstein's letter notes that he is in the "Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology" at the Lennox Hill Hospital. Why is this significant? Dr. Gunter writes:
Dr. Bornstein is affiliated with Lennox Hill, but he is not part of their Division of Gastroenterology. There also isn’t a Department of Medicine there is a Division of General Internal Medicine and Dr. Bornstein isn’t a member of that either. Having admitting privileges and being a division member are not the same thing. Many hospitals allow doctors to have admitting privileges and not be department or division members. And what’s with this made up “Section”?
It is also very odd for a doctor in a private practice to use their admitting privileges address under their signature if it is not the same as their practice address.
And finally, Dr. Harold Bornstein's letterhead also included the name of his father, Dr. Jacob Bornstein, who had died in 2010! This also struck Dr. Gunter as strange.
Was an old doctor’s letter used as a template with the person copying the letterhead not knowing or remembering that the elder Dr. Bornstein had passed away? Is this Dickensian six-year-old letterhead with the name of the deceased still at the top?
Putting this all together, I say, "BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT! AND MORE BULLSHIT!"
Something is VERY wrong here. I can think of only two possibilities. Either Dr. Bornstein is claiming to have written this letter under duress. Maybe Trump is blackmailing him or has something over him. Or, more likely, Trump is paying him a lot of money to claim that he wrote the letter. I suppose there is a third possibility: Dr. Bornstein is the world's most incompetent doctor, in which case his medical opinion doesn't mean much. Of course, there could be a fourth possibility, but for the life of me I can't think of what it is.
In any case, it is ludicrous to take Trump's doctor's letter at face value. Donald Trump really needs to release a medical opinion FROM ANOTHER DOCTOR. A second medical evaluation by Dr Bornstein will mean nothing. He has already squandered his credibility.
Update 8/28/16 9 pm: In a development than can only be described as bizarre, someone using Harold Bornstein's email address is demanding money to be interviewed and writing responses in Italian. And even more bizarre, Chris Reeve, an IT specialist who works in the medical field and Matt Novak of Gizmodo both point out that Dr. Bornstein is using a computer with an old XP operating system. This is shocking because XP is insecure and is almost certainly in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Updated 9/19/2016: Donald Trump went on Dr. Oz's show and Dr. Oz pronounced him in good health in a very surreal interview. However, the interview was a a joke since Dr. Oz had said he would not cover any medical issues that Trump did not want to talk about. Dr. Oz is highly regarded as a leading heart surgeon, but to say his TV show is controversial is an understatement. Oz has come under fire for hyping unproven weight loss treatments and making highly questionable claims, as can be seen in the following videos by John Oliver.