Politics

December 31, 2012

Clinton's blood clot located near brain, doctors say

But doctors say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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In this June 10, 2011 file photo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves as the arrives at Lusaka International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia. Clinton has been admitted to a New York hospital after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month. Spokesman Philippe Reines says her doctors discovered the clot during a follow-up exam Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

AP

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It isn't uncommon for presidential candidates' health — and age — to be an issue. Both in 2000 and 2008, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had to rebut concerns he was too old to be commander in chief or that his skin cancer could resurface.

Two decades after Clinton became the first lady, signs of her popularity — and her political strength — are ubiquitous.

Obama had barely declared victory in November when Democrats started zealously plugging Clinton as their strongest White House contender four years from now, should she choose to take that leap.

"Wouldn't that be exciting," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi declared in December. "I hope she goes — why wouldn't she?"

Even Republicans concede that were she to run, Clinton would be a force to be reckoned with.

"Trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl," former House Speaker and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said in December. "The Republican Party today is incapable of competing at that level."

Americans admire Clinton more than any other woman in the world, according to a Gallup poll released Monday — the 17th time in 20 years that Clinton has claimed that title. And a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 57 percent of Americans would support Clinton as a candidate for president in 2016, with just 37 percent opposed. Meanwhile, websites have already cropped up hawking "Clinton 2016" mugs and tote bags.

Clinton returned to the U.S. from a trip to Europe, then fell ill with a stomach virus in early December that left her severely dehydrated and forced her to cancel a trip to North Africa and the Middle East. Until then, she had cancelled only two scheduled overseas trips, one to Europe after breaking her elbow in June 2009 and one to Asia after the February 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Her condition worsened when she fainted, fell and suffered a concussion while at home alone in mid-December as she recovered from the virus. It was announced on Dec. 13.

This isn't the first time Clinton has suffered a blood clot. In 1998, midway through her husband's second term as president, Clinton was in New York fundraising for the midterm elections when a swollen right foot led her doctor to diagnose a clot in her knee requiring immediate treatment.

Medical experts said the seriousness of a blood clot diagnosis varies widely based on where it is located.

Clots in the legs are a common risk after someone has been bedridden, as Clinton may have been for a time after her concussion in December. Those are "no big deal" and are treated with blood thinners, said Dr. Gholam Motamedi, a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center who is not involved in Clinton's care.

But a clot in a lung or the brain is more serious. Lung clots, called pulmonary embolisms, can be deadly, and a clot in the brain can cause a stroke, Motamedi said.

Beyond talk of future politics, Clinton's three-week absence from the State Department has raised eyebrows among some conservative commentators who questioned the seriousness of Clinton's ailment after she cancelled planned Dec. 20 testimony before Congress on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Clinton had been due to discuss with lawmakers a scathing report on the attack she had commissioned that found serious failures of leadership and management in two State Department bureaus were to blame for insufficient security at the facility. Clinton took responsibility for the incident before the report was released, but she was not blamed. Four officials cited in the report have either resigned or been reassigned.

 

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