Cough and a Chilling Effect: What is going on here?
Throughout these final months of this presidential election, there has been much speculation on the state of Hillary Clinton’s health. After all, it was bound to happen given her increasing tendency to lose her balance, stumble, fall, take tumbles while walking up stairs, faint, shake, bobble, shout, bark, gesticulate, and make funny faces that are all but unbelievable once memorialized in freeze-frame. And seemingly everyone these days has a cell phone ready to capture every unflattering detail. The resulting images are so bizarre that we would be tempted accuse their purveyors of photographic opportunism, if not Photoshop shenanigans, except, well, we are all there to see the original performances—which are as cringeworthy as they come.
There is, of course, a good reason for our concern. While the President of the United States must be morally and ethically fit for the nation’s highest office (which Hillary is not; but that’s another post), he or she must in the first instance be physically healthy enough to withstand the rigors of the presidency while serving as a dependable leader of the free world.
Turns out, Clinton is not that either.
Unfortunately, very little of that speculation has found its way to the established media outlets. As I covered in a previous post, Dr. Drew Pinsky recently expressed, on air, his concerns regarding Clinton’s health and the seemingly outdated medical care that she is receiving. That is all that he said. Even so, CNN promptly fired Pinsky and cancelled his show eight days later.
That was bound to have a chilling effect on the medical community, and it did.
Just yesterday, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS)—a stalwart icon of conservatism in medicine and a staunch defender of the rights of individual physicians—sent a survey to its physician members asking, “Is it appropriate to raise questions about the health of candidates running for President of the United States?”
Do we really have to ask—much less answer—that question?
Because to answer it in any way other than the affirmative would be to yet again muzzle the nation’s physicians as the liberal progressive left carries off perhaps its greatest coup yet: the election of a true Manchurian candidate. Because to us physicians looking on, Clinton does not appear physically fit to run for, much less hold, the office of the presidency.
Physicians were muzzled throughout the debate, passage, and early implementation of Obamacare. That hasn’t turned out so well. Didn’t we learn our lesson? When it comes to matters of medicine and health, we doctors know best. We certainly know better than self-serving politicians, federal government bureaucrats, and insurance industry and Wall Street fat cats. Trust me on that one.
Rumblings from the Medical Community
Thankfully, it appears as though a small number of physicians are becoming aware of the stakes. That, in turn, is leading them—us—to speak out against this latest Clinton cover-up. We will see what happens to us and if anyone listens.
Recently, I saw where one physician has publicly stated that in his opinion, it is most likely that Clinton suffers from Parkinson’s disease. I do not disagree. However, without the benefit of a personal examination and medical workup, my differential list—or list of possible diagnoses—is a bit longer. I am also an emergency physician. As generalists who oftentimes cannot afford to get it wrong, we tend to consider everything, at least at first blush.
Also recently, what purported to be copies of Clinton’s medical records surfaced on the Internet. Those records assigned to Clinton diagnoses of complex partial seizures and subcortical vascular dementia—seizures and early dementia for short. A supposed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) film purported to show a telltale loss of mass and volume of Clinton’s brain.
With time, many outlets rejected those records as fake. I have no idea, and no way to determine, whether that was the correct call. That does not change my opinion regarding the state of Clinton’s health.
What I do know is that there was a reason why reaching the conclusion that the records were fake took time. The medical diagnoses contained in those records are far more believable to the medical community than are the explanations being force-fed to us by the Clinton campaign and the mainstream and cable news giants.
One thing that we all agree upon: Hillary Clinton is not well. Hers is not an illness that any of us practicing physicians not blinded by a desire to see her elected president would characterize as mild, temporary, or unrelated to her fitness to serve as president. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
When a Cough Isn’t Just a Cough
First, a caveat: As I have stated before, I have never met, and do not wish to meet, Hillary Clinton. Nor have I ever personally examined her. I am not privy to her personal medical records, which she refuses to share with the American public. That is her prerogative. But by the same token, telling you what I know to be true about her fitness for the presidency is my prerogative, which I choose to exercise. It is, I strongly feel, my civic, if not my moral, duty to do so. Because goodness knows, few others have lined up to join me.
So let’s get to it.
Individuals can develop a chronic cough for many reasons. Some of the more routine and least worrisome are the common cold and flu, seasonal and other allergies, chronic bronchitis, direct irritants like cigarette smoke, and certain medications, most notably a particular class of blood pressure medications. Usually in such cases, the diagnosis is straightforward, because the source of the irritation is readily apparent. In other words, the person exhibits other symptoms or characteristics that lead to the correct diagnosis. These include: (1) fevers, chills, runny/stuffy nose, and sneezing in the case of colds and bronchitis; (2) itchy/watery eyes, runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, and exposure to a known trigger in the case of allergies; (3) the patient’s status as a known smoker in the case of smoking-related cough; and (4) the presence of known cough-causing medications in the case of cough as a side effect.
Sometimes, however, a cough is not just a cough. Sometimes, a cough is a symptom of serious illness that tends to be rapidly progressive. The more chronic the cough, the more concerning the situation and the more imperative it is that we reach the correct diagnosis. This type of cough is caused not by an external stimulus (as is the case in the conditions listed above), but rather by damage to or interference with a nervous cascade in the body that results in the cough reflex being triggered not appropriately (as in the conditions listed above), but rather inappropriately and in the absence of a specific stimulus.
That is the category where I—and a growing number of my colleagues courageous enough to speak out—would place Clinton.
So . . . what are the possible diagnoses?
Broadly speaking, they fall into three separate but related categories:
“The Cardiac Cough:” Severe Heart Disease, including Heart Failure
Chronic cough in the absence of a known stimulus is most commonly associated with severe heart disease. This includes severe congestive heart failure, either occurring on its own or after a heart attack. Less common but also possible are cardiac arrhythmias in which the heart beats with an irregular, and thus inappropriate, rhythm.
Unfortunately, I saw this syndrome up close and personal a number of years ago when my grandmother suffered a severe heart attack. Though she survived, she was left with a chronic, persistent cough that severely diminished the quality of the life remaining to both her and her husband, my step-grandfather, himself a retired physician. Though she lived for a number of years thereafter, her condition was both frustrating and debilitating, even though we were well aware of its cause.
Acute Neurologic Injury, including Stroke
As a second broad category, chronic cough in the absence of a known stimulus can result from acute neurologic injury.
The most common cause of acute neurologic injury is acute stroke, either in the cerebrum or the brainstem. This should be at the top of any differential list for Clinton. First, she suffers from other symptoms suggestive of stroke, including chronic double vision and problems with balance, steadiness, and gait. Second, she suffered a known stroke in 2012 (despite the fact that they refuse to call it that). In addition, as I discussed in a previous post, Clinton was known to have suffered from deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in 1998 and 2009. This indicates that she is at high risk for stroke—which we now know she suffered, but lied about, in 2012. It also leaves her at high risk for more recent and future strokes.
Chronic cough can also result from acute spinal cord injury of the sort that partially or completely paralyzes the individual. The higher up the spinal cord the injury, the more likely the possibility of chronic cough as a permanent condition. This represents the permanent impairment of the respiratory and cough mechanisms that causes so many victims of high spinal cord injuries to eventually die of pneumonia despite the best of care.
Progressive Neurologic Disease
As a third broad category also applicable to Clinton, chronic cough is commonly seen in a number of progressive neurologic disorders. Primary among those are Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
The Neurologic “Cough Cascade”
The reason for the development of chronic cough after acute or progressive neurologic damage is simple: The neurologic injury, whether acute or chronic, triggers a cascade of activity in both the craniospinal nerves (nerves of the brain and spinal cord) and the central nervous system that results in an inappropriate chronic cough—that is, cough in the absence of an irritating stimulus.
In other words, the individual coughs for no reason. Because of this, the use of medications designed to relieve cough/cold/allergy symptoms, including the antihistamines that Clinton routinely takes and claims to have recently increased, provide little, if any, relief. Also ineffective at relieving the cough are topical agents like lozenges and water. That stands to reason, because the cough is occurring in the absence of a topical irritant that a lozenge or water would relieve (that is, a scratchy or tickly throat or irritated and inflamed airways).
One More Possibility
In addition to the above, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that chronic cough can be a presenting symptom of obstructive hydrocephalus, which is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) gets trapped in the brain, unable to drain appropriately. This condition was once known as “water on the brain.” The excess fluid causes the widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles. This widening, in turn, compresses the surrounding brain, resulting in neurologic and cognitive symptoms.
Because of this, hydrocephalus should especially be considered where the patient also exhibits gait disturbances, cognitive decline, and other neurologic symptoms as is the case with Clinton. Treatment is accomplished by the placement of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt in the brain to assist with the drainage of CSF. Unfortunately, patients frequently continue to have problems and often progress, sometimes rapidly, to more serious neurologic impairment and cognitive dysfunction.
The Truth About Hillary
Notice the pattern? Chronic cough often means one of two things: severe cardiac disease or neurologic disease or injury. It’s that simple—and devastating to Clinton’s bid for the presidency.
What is important to know is that Clinton more likely than not suffers from one, if not more, of the serious medical conditions listed above. This is especially clear given her other obvious neurologic and cognitive difficulties.
I can tell you this: If Hillary Clinton walked into my emergency room with the symptoms we have now all seen played out over and over on the campaign trail, I would send her directly to the MRI scanner. I would also place a call to the best neurologist and cardiologist I could find while I awaited the results. I would be that certain.
Because that is where Clinton should be: in the care of the best physicians she can find. Where she should not be is on the campaign trail seeking the nation’s highest office. I’m sorry, Mrs. Clinton; but you just aren’t healthy enough—in addition to your already long list of . . ahem . . . qualities making you unfit for office.
A More Pressing Question
Sometimes, a cough is not just a cough. Hillary’s cough is not just a cough. That much is clear.
This leaves us with the obvious question: Why are the powers that be on the left (and in the left-leaning media) so anxious to dupe the country into electing a woman who is clearly seriously impaired to the point of being able, at best, to serve as a Manchurian candidate? What are they planning to do to us through her?
The American people deserve to know the truth.
Please join me in demanding that they tell us the truth about Clinton’s declining health. Her health, and our futures, depend on it.
Aware of the growing controversy surrounding Clinton’s health, Donald Trump recently stated that he would agree to releasing his complete medical records if Clinton would do the same.
I suggest we take them both up on it. What say you?
Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.