Fact Checking Dr. Drew on Hillary Clinton’s ‘Medical Records’

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Dr. Drew didn’t hesitate to comment on Hillary Clinton’s health care. (Photos: Getty Images)

During a radio interview yesterday, Dr. Drew Pinsky made some strong accusations about Hillary Clinton’s health care, referring to her medical treatment as “bizarre,” “very unconventional,” and “old-fashioned.” Astonishingly, the “records” Dr. Pinsky chose to comment on have been making the rounds for months and have been proved to be fake.

In a statement provided to FactCheck.org by the Clinton campaign, Clinton’s longtime physician, Lisa Bardack, MD, director of internal medicine, Mount Sinai Health System at CareMount Medical, dismissed the authenticity of these documents, saying they are “false, were not written by me, and are not based on any medical facts.”

“Just to preface this, it’s extremely difficult to make an assessment from afar on specific treatments for specific people because not everyone falls into one treatment category,” Kristine S. Arthur, MD, internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells Yahoo Beauty.

Here’s what our medical expert had to say in regards to Dr. Drew’s evaluation:

Dr. Drew said: “She’s being treated with hyperthyroidism with something called Armour Thyroid, which is very unconventional and something that we used to back in the ’60s.”

Dr. Arthur says: “We would typically start with a different type of thyroid formulation, more commonly like Synthroid or Levothyroxine. It’s [Armour] an appropriate option — it’s just not considered the typical first-line option. I would think they would have tried the commonly used or conventional treatment first, and then if perhaps she could not tolerate those, they moved her on to something not used as much but can still balance out her thyroid.”

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Dr. Drew said: “So she goes on Coumadin — that’s weird because Coumadin really isn’t used anymore.”

Dr. Arthur says: “These new blood thinners like the medication Dr. Drew was talking about aren’t typically used for this type of a clot [a brain clot] — they’re used for the leg clots. And, yes, Coumadin has been around for a long time and it’s an old drug. It was used and it’s still used. There are some newer medications, as he mentioned, that could be used for those types of leg blood clots, but Coumadin is certainly still used. It’s kind of a personal preference as to what people are comfortable with.

“But when it comes to something like this [a brain clot], Coumadin would be an indicated treatment for it. Typically, that would be several months and then you’d be done.

“From her letter last summer—which was a couple of years after it [her concussion] happened — the doctor formally said she was still taking Coumadin. That suggests to me that maybe there is something else going on that would be putting her at a predisposition of developing blood clots. If her doctor felt she needed to leave her on lifelong anticoagulation — it’s a big commitment to put someone on it — you would really want to make sure there’s a reason for it.”

According to a 2013 New York Times article, Geoffrey T. Manley, MD, the vice chairman of neurological surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, stated that given Clinton’s history of having a blood clot in her leg back in 1998, this suggests she may have a tendency to form clots and may need blood-thinners long-term or even for the rest of her life.

Dr. Bardack, her longtime physician, told USA Today that follow-up medical exams in 2013 “revealed complete resolution of the effects of the concussion.”

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Dr. Drew said: “When they screened her for heart disease, again, they did an old-fashioned screening.”

Dr. Arthur says: “I couldn’t find any type of heart test they did on Hillary. Typically, we do stress testing, where it can be putting someone on the treadmill or nuclear medicine stress testing. What would be considered old-fashioned screening? I’m not entirely sure.

“All I can say is that maybe it was only a treadmill test, when now we have some newer type of nuclear imaging that we can get great pictures of the heart, for instance — that would be a more in-depth type of test. But I would hate to have someone read this and think, My doctor gave me a treadmill test and I guess that’s old-fashioned. It’s a perfectly acceptable test to do.

“But again, you have to take the whole patient into consideration. For one person, the treadmill test can be perfectly acceptable and for someone else it would be considered not adequate. Unless her legitimate doctor released exactly what she’s had, it’s impossible to judge.

“Again, you never know unless you go into somebody’s specific chart as to why they would need certain treatments versus others. Sometimes there’s a great medication that we would love to give someone yet they can’t tolerate it, so they we move to something else that might be not as good — or older — because it’s all we can do. It’s difficult to judge from afar.”

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