Clinton has blood clot close to her brain, say doctors

Monday, December 31, 2012

Top US diplomat Hillary Clinton is suffering from a blood clot in a vein in her head but should make a full recovery, doctors said on Monday as she spent New Year’s Eve in hospital.

A routine scan on Sunday had revealed "that a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis had formed," doctors Lisa Bardack, of Mount Kisco Medical Group, and Gigi El-Bayoumi, of George Washington University, said in a statement.

They described it as "a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage."

Clinton was admitted to the New York Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday following the discovery and is being treated with blood thinners to dissolve the clot. She will be released "once the medication dose has been established."

"In all other aspects of her recovery, the secretary is making excellent progress and we are confident she will make a full recovery. She is in good spirits, engaging with her doctors, her family, and her staff," they added.

Her top aide, Philippe Reines, said on Sunday the popular US secretary of state would stay in the hospital for some 48 hours after being admitted so she could be monitored while on the anti-coagulant drugs.

The globe-trotting diplomat has not been seen in public after succumbing to a stomach virus on returning from a trip to Europe on December 7.

It’s a rare absence for the most popular member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, who has been a highly-visible and loyal supporter of his foreign policy agenda, travelling almost a million miles during four years in office.

But Clinton, 65, has made it clear she intends to step down in the coming weeks, once Senator John Kerry, tapped by President Barack Obama to replace her, is confirmed by the Senate.

Clinton fell ill with the bad stomach bug virus on her return from her trip to Prague, Brussels, Dublin and Belfast, which caused her to become dehydrated. She fainted and suffered a concussion.

According to one media report on the website Buzzfeed, she was being treated amid tight security on the hospital’s 9th floor, known as the VIP wing, where her husband, former president Bill Clinton, had bypass surgery in 2004.

The couple’s daughter, Chelsea, was seen leaving the hospital visibly upset on Monday, The New York Daily News said.

It is not the first health scare for Clinton. In 1998, the then first lady had a blood clot in her leg which she told the New York Daily News was "scary because you have to treat it immediately - you don’t want to take the risk that it will break loose and travel to your brain, or your heart or your lungs."

Though once seen as a deeply divisive figure, she now has approval ratings above 60 percent. And many believe she will run again for the White House in 2016, despite being narrowly defeated by Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

A Gallup poll released Monday showed Clinton again topping an annual list of the woman most admired by Americans, winning support from 21 percent of those surveyed. It is the 17th time she has topped the list, a landmark for Gallup.

Clinton’s lengthy absence from public life had sparked claims from some of her fiercest critics that she was faking illness to avoid testifying before lawmakers investigating a deadly attack on a US mission in Libya.

The September 11 assault on the US mission in eastern Benghazi, in which the US ambassador and three other American officials were killed, sparked a political firestorm in the United States. A subsequent State Department inquiry found that security at the mission was "grossly inadequate."

Copyright © 2012 AFP