Monday night’s Rachel Maddow Show had a pretty thorough story about the weirdo-beardo doctor who wrote that bizarre letter testifying to Donald Trump’s incomparably phenomenal health back in December; Maddow focused on the strange timing Dr. Harold Bornstein offered for the letter: “I guess he called and said the Clinton organization was going publish a letter on her health.” Now that’s pretty odd, Maddow noted, since Hillary Clinton’s campaign had actually released her health summary a good five months before Bornstein told the nation Donald Trump can see through walls and stop crooked Hillary’s lies with his Lasso of Truth. The full interview with Bornstein also includes other weird moments, like his clarification that by saying Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” he meant the obvious fact that most former presidents are either sick or dead. Besides, what he really meant was that Trump’s health is excellent for a man of 70. (Bornstein also got a little mixed up about various presidential ailments in history, saying that Eisenhower had “polio.” Not so much.)
But in one way, says Karoli Kuns at Crooks and Liars, Maddow buried the lede, since Bornstien said something far more troubling than the bit about the genesis of the letter. For one thing, the timing isn’t quite so mysterious — Kuns notes, “Trump’s rush to get the letter out was in response to a POLITICO article questioning his health and qualifications to be President.” The big hairy screaming News Flash in the interview wasn’t the timing, it was Bornstein’s casual mention, after the Trump people requested the letter, that he knows some real health secrets about that Hillary Clinton, hoo boy: “I know her physician and I know some of her health history which is really not so good, so I said, why not?” (It’s at about the 5-minute mark in the above video.)
This is pretty bad, actually, and while Maddow did go into it, and discussed it with a guest later in the show, it says a hell a lot about the medical ethics of Trump’s brilliant gastroenterologist (who he sees for general medicine for some reason). Either Hillary Clinton’s doctor told Bornstein some very private information about Clinton’s health, which Bornstein then disclosed on national TV, or Bornstein’s a damned liar. Either way, not terrific:
If it’s the former, he violated HIPAA, the very harsh law guarding people’s medical privacy. If it’s the latter, then we can also assume the letter he wrote about Donald Trump is as much of a lie as is his claim that he knows anything about Hillary Clinton’s health.
If Bornstein did violate HIPAA, he could be in for some heavy duty sanctions, because for godssake doctors don’t go disclosing people’s private medical information, especially when they’re not that patient’s physician. In a different portion of the NBC interview with Bornstein, he actually invokes HIPAA to rule out saying when he’d most recently examined Donald Trump.
Frankly, we doubt Bornstein actually knows beans about Hillary Clinton’s health or would have had any reason to discuss it with her physician, so we’ll just go with Lying Liar as the more likely scenario.
Also, as several people have noted, another important question is why Donald Trump would entrust his health to the Brent Spiner character from Independence Day:
Even if her emphasis was a bit misplaced on the timing of Bornstein’s letter, that full Rachel Maddow segment is worth a watch — to paraphrase what Mr. Buffett said of that Holiday Inn full of surgeons, “I don’t think I would ever let him cut on me.”
In other expert medical commentary on Hillary Clinton’s health by people who are not her doctor, “Dr. Drew” Pinsky has had his HLN cable show cancelled just days after saying he was “gravely concerned not just about her health, but her health care,” because he thought her doctor may have been relying on stone knives and bearskins in his medical practice:
[W]hen they screened her for heart disease, again, they did an old-fashioned screen. It just seems like she’s getting care from somebody that she met in Arkansas when she was a kid, and you’ve got to wonder. You’ve got to wonder. It’s not so much that her health is a grave concern. It’s that the care she’s getting could make it a concern.
For what it’s worth, Hillary Clinton grew up in Illinois and moved to Arkansas, where they also have real doctors, in 1974. Her current physician, Lisa Bardack, is an internist from Mount Kisco, New York, where modern medicine is also not unknown.
We’re now looking forward to the next Hillary Health Conspiracy variation, in which we learn that Gene Wilder was actually killed by the Clintons because he learned too much about the reanimation of dead body parts while filming Young Frankenstein.