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Suffering from pneumonia, Clinton falls ill at 9/11 event

Hillary Clinton has been under treatment for pneumonia, her doctor said Sunday after the Democratic nominee left a 9/11 memorial service abruptly in New York raising questions about her health and implications for her campaign.

us presidential election Updated: Sep 12, 2016 21:57 IST
Yashwant Raj
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gets into her van outside her daughter Chelsea's home in New York on September 11. Clinton left ceremonies commemorating the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks feeling ‘overheated’.
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gets into her van outside her daughter Chelsea's home in New York on September 11. Clinton left ceremonies commemorating the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks feeling ‘overheated’. (REUTERS)

Hillary Clinton has been under treatment for pneumonia, her doctor said Sunday after the Democratic nominee left a 9/11 memorial service abruptly in New York, raising questions about her health and implications for her campaign.

In a video of her exit taken by a bystander, the former secretary of state is seen resting against a traffic bollard as she waited of a vehicle and stumble while walking towards it. Her campaign had said she left because she had felt “overheated”.

Clinton was driven to her daughter Chelsea Clinton’s apartment a short distance from Ground Zero where the memorial service was being held. Leaving after a while, she waved at supporters and cameras, and posed with a little girl.

“I’m feeling great,” Clinton said. “It’s a beautiful day in New York.”

Clinton appeared to be in better shape after leaving her daughter Chelsea’s house. She waved at supporters and cameras, and posed with a little girl. (REUTERS)

Her doctor later said in a statement, “Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. 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. 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.”

After leaving her daughter’s, Clinton was driven to her home in Chappaqua, New York, and made no public appearances. She later called off plans to fly to California on Monday morning for two days of fundraising, a public campaign and an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show.

But reports about her engagements the day she was diagnosed with pneumonia seemed to suggest she might be not be away long, if at all.

“Friday, day Clinton diagnosed w pneumonia, she appeared at 2 fundraisers, ran a 2-hour natl (national) security mtg, did a presser, sat for CNN intvu (interview),” said a reporter covering the Clinton campaign in a tweet.

Another reporter covering the campaign added in a separate tweet: “1 day after NY (New York) presser→fly to NC (North Carolina) → campaign in NC→raise $ in NC→ fly to MO Missouri) → speak in MO → fly back to NY.”

That was Saturday. And then the Sunday morning service.

While Donald Trump and his campaign, who had earlier fanned conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health, chose not to comment, noticeably, there was general agreement among experts and media commentators that her health was now a legitimate campaign issue.

“Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign,” ran a headline in The Washington Post, a news publication Trump has frequently accused of being unfair to him. Charlie Sykes, a conservative commentator and leading member of the NeverTrump movement in the Republican party, tweeted a link to that Post article saying, “Yep. Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign.”

Questions have been raised about the two nominees’ health, given their age — Clinton is 68 and Trump is 70.

The Clinton campaign released a letter from her doctor, Lisa Bardack, who also announced the pneumonia diagnosis Sunday, in January 2015 saying the nominee was in “excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States”.

At the time, the doctor had said, Clinton’s “current medical condition include hypothyroidism and seasons pollen allergies”. Her past medical history included a deep vein thrombosis in 1998 and 2009, an elbow fracture in 2009 and a concussion in 2012, when she was still secretary of state.

Trump’s campaign issued a similar letter from his doctor in December 2015, which came under scrutiny recently for its bombastic tone and claims. It said Trump would be the healthiest president in the history of the country.

The doctor has since said he wrote the letter in five minutes flat, as a Trump campaign car waited outside.

(With AP inputs)