- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was being monitored closely at a New York hospital Monday night, although doctors said she was making “excellent progress” toward “a full recovery” from a blood clot inside her skull.

Doctors discovered the clot Sunday during a routine MRI as part of a follow-up exam to a concussion Mrs. Clinton sustained in mid-December after dehydration from an acute stomach virus caused her to faint and hit her head.

“The scan revealed that a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis had formed. This is a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear,” Mrs. Clinton’s doctors said in a statement released Monday night.

“It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage,” the doctors said.

Upon discovering the clot, doctors admitted Mrs. Clinton to New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, where she was being treated with blood thinners and “will be released once the medication dose has been established,” according to the statement.

Before falling ill, Mrs. Clinton, 65, announced her intention to step down as secretary of state. President Obama has nominated Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, as her replacement.

But Mrs. Clinton was hospitalized at a politically delicate moment for the former first lady, two-term Democratic senator and 2008 presidential hopeful.

Washington political insiders have been speculating about whether she plans to make a second run at the presidency in 2016. How the hospitalization affects such plans likely will be discussed in the days and weeks ahead.

In the interim, questions continue to swirl over whether Mrs. Clinton will heed the call of Republican lawmakers to testify on Capitol Hill about the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

She was slated to testify in late December after the release of a scathing State Department report about security failures leading up to the attack, during which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The report, which prompted the resignations of four State Department officials, concluded that senior department officials ignored intelligence and security warnings that might have prevented the attack.

Mrs. Clinton canceled her scheduled testimony after sustaining the concussion in mid-December. She also canceled a planned trip to the Middle East and North Africa in late December.

Mrs. Clinton has accepted blame for failures surrounding the Benghazi attack, but the report prompted several Republican lawmakers to demand that she reschedule her testimony and answer more questions.

One conservative former official went so far as to accuse Mrs. Clinton of faking her illness in order to duck lawmakers seeking her testimony. During an appearance on Fox News on Dec. 17, John R. Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, joked that Mrs. Clinton appeared to be suffering from “diplomatic illness” in order to avoid testifying before Congress.

The suggestion drew a sharp rebuke from State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who called it “completely untrue” and asserted that Mr. Bolton is “not privy to any inside information.”

Doctors, meanwhile, said Mrs. Clinton appeared to be happy and doing well Monday evening.

“The secretary is making excellent progress and we are confident she will make a full recovery,” Dr. Lisa Bardack of Mount Kisco Medical Group and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi of George Washington University said in a statement issued by the State Department.

“She is in good spirits, engaging with her doctors, her family, and her staff,” the statement said.

Dr. Gholam Motamedi, a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center who is not involved in Mrs. Clinton’s care, told The Associated Press that the seriousness of a blood clot “depends on where it is.”

Clots in the legs generally are regarded as “no big deal” and are treated with six months of blood thinners to allow them to dissolve on their own and to prevent further clots from forming, Dr. Motamedi said.

But a clot in a lung or the brain is more serious, he said, adding that keeping Mrs. Clinton in the hospital for a couple of days could let doctors perform more tests to determine why the clot formed and to rule out a heart problem or other condition that might have led to it.



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