Debunking Snopes.com on Dr. Drew Pinsky and The Medical Care of Hillary Clinton
Snopes published a piece in which they claim to debunk Dr. Drew Pinsky and his criticism of the way Hillary Clinton is being cared for by her personal physician.
David Emery, writing for Snopes, puts it this way:
“Physician and media personality Dr. Drew Pinsky weighed in on the state of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s health during a radio interview, stating that he and a colleague (physician and media personality Dr. Robert Huizenga) had “evaluated the medical record that she had released” and “were gravely concerned not just about her health, but her health care.”
Speaking on the McIntyre in the Morning show on KABC-TV in Los Angeles, Pinsky said, “Both of us concluded that if we were providing the care that she was receiving, we’d be ashamed to show up in a doctor’s lounge.”‘”
Emery then launches into what appears to be a blow by blow depiction of Pinsky and his colleague’s criticisms of Clinton’s care, after reminding the readers that her doctor’s letter attesting to her “excellent health” had just been reissued.
But the criticism lobbed by Pinsky is of the care and its possible consequences. So, using the letter written by the physician who issued it does nothing to debunk anything.
Pinsky has issues with the fact that when Secretary Clinton fell and suffered a concussion, she was left with a rare occurrence of a particular type of blood clot:
“Specifically, he raised an alarm about the blood clot found in her skull (transverse sinus thrombosis) after she suffered a concussion during a fall in late 2012. It’s a rare condition that Pinsky described as a “complication” of Clinton hitting her head, although, according to a Washington Post report on the original diagnosis, whether or not the blood clot was related to the injury was “unknown, with experts offering divergent opinions.””
Pinsky also noted that, as a result of the blood clot, Clinton had to wear prism glasses for two months because without them, she would have had issues with maintaining her balance. Pinsky characterized this as a sign that there was brain damage. Concussions are known to have effects that go beyond the immediate, but this is outside the norm.
What the Snopes piece fails to present as parts of a whole, are Pinsky’s other critiques. He questioned the type and age of the medication Clinton takes for hypothyroidism. It’s an old medication that is known for interfering with the blood clotting process. The website, RxList, lists sensitivity to heat and dizziness as side-effects of Armour Thyroid. Under interactions, RxList has this caution:
“Thyroid hormones appear to increase catabolism of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. If oral anticoagulants are also being given, compensatory increases in clotting factor synthesis are impaired. Patients stabilized on oral anticoagulants who are found to require thyroid replacement therapy should be watched very closely when thyroid is started. If a patient is truly hypothyroid, it is likely that a reduction in anticoagulant dosage will be required. No special precautions appear to be necessary when oral anticoagulant therapy is begun in a patient already stabilized on maintenance thyroid replacement therapy.”
Clinton is also on an anticoagulant drug, Coumadin.
So, the connection between Armour Thyroid, Coumadin, and the formation of a rare type of blood clot when she fell and suffered a concussion isn’t out of the blue. Pinsky is correct. A lot of people suffer concussions after a fall. Few have both a concussion and clotting.
The way Snopes misrepresents Pinsky’s arguments is very deceptive in the way the debunking is structured and Pinsky characterized. Snopes described Pinsky’s radio appearance as rambling when, in actuality, when the conversation went off-track, Pinsky brought it back to the topic of Clinton’s care and finished presenting his case for the audience.
What’s more, Pinsky advanced one theory in three parts, and not three separate theories questioning Clinton’s care, as Snopes leads readers to believe. The questions he and his colleagues raised are perfectly valid. Why is Clinton on such an old medication to begin with? Why, indeed, is she still on it years after having suffered a fall with clotting in the brain? Why, at that point, was she not taken off Armour Thyroid and placed on Synthroid?
It is interesting to note that in newly released medical records, Clinton’s blood pressure is listed at 100/70 which, given the medications she is taking, is surprisingly low.
What’s more, former President Bill Clinton appeared on CBS. Capitol Hill based, The Hill newspaper reported:
“CBS News edited a video clip and transcript to remove former President Bill Clinton‘s comment during an interview that Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic presidential nominee, “frequently” fainted in the past.”
The Hill included this clip of Clinton:
Other than CBS’ questionable editing, what draws attention here, is this portion of Clinton’s statement: “Well, if it is, then it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors” Say what? Two of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are low blood pressure and increased risk of dizziness and fainting. Both of the drugs Clinton is taking are known to have side effects that include dizziness and sensitivity to heat. Coumadin is known to have side-effects on the respiratory system. Clinton has allergies, which irritate the respiratory system, even when they’re reasonably under control. All of these factors, together, provide cause for concern.
What is the mystery here? Clinton suffers from a disorder that is known to cause fainting and making off-label use of a drug that is also known to cause dizziness and blood clotting to treat it. In order to counter the clotting side effect, Clinton is on an anticoagulant drug that, as a side-effect, causes sensitivity to heat. If cause and effect are a scientific way to look at a problem, then Drew Pinsky’s objections are well within the bounds of science and Mrs. Clinton would be well-advised to seek a second opinion with an endocrinologist who will better manage her case.
Oh, and as a final coup de grace, Emery ends his attempt at debunking Pinsky with a quote from Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich? Why would Hillary Clinton’s former arch-enemy’s medical opinion have more value than Pinsky’s?
Dr. Drew Pinsky’s show on CNN’s HLN network was abruptly terminated immediately after he made his appearance on the McIntyre in the Morning show on KABC. This sudden end smacks of behind the scenes media manipulation by Clinton henchman David Brock.
Presidents usually bring their doctors with them to the White House. Let’s hope, for our collective sake, someone gets up the courage to suggest to Hillary that she seek the opinion of a competent physician. It sounds like she needs one, STAT!