As Clinton continues to recover, doctors look toward return home

Hillary Rodham Clinton. Doctors want to set the dose for blood thinners before her release.
Hillary Rodham Clinton. Doctors want to set the dose for blood thinners before her release.
Posted: January 03, 2013

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to recover in a New York hospital where she's being treated for a blood clot in her head.

Her doctors say that blood thinners are being used to dissolve the clot and that they are confident she will make a full recovery. Clinton did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage from the clot, which formed after she suffered a concussion during a fainting spell at her home in early December, doctors said in a statement Monday.

Clinton, 65, was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday when the clot turned up on a follow-up exam, Clinton spokesman Phillipe Reines said. The clot is in the vein in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. She will be released once the medication dose for the blood thinners has been established, the doctors said.

In their statement, Lisa Bardack of the Mount Kisco Medical Group and Gigi El-Bayoumi of George Washington University said Clinton was making excellent progress and was in good spirits.

Clinton's complication "certainly isn't the most common thing to happen after a concussion" and is one of the few types of blood clots in the skull or head that are treated with blood thinners, said Larry Goldstein, a neurologist who is director of Duke University's stroke center. He is not involved in Clinton's care.

The area where Clinton's clot developed is "a drainage channel, the equivalent of a big vein inside the skull. It's how the blood gets back to the heart," Goldstein said.

Blood thinners usually are enough to treat the clot and it should have no long-term consequences if her doctors are saying she has suffered no neurological damage from it, Goldstein said.

Democrats are privately if not publicly speculating: How might her illness affect a decision about running for president in 2016?

After decades in politics, Clinton says she plans to spend the next year resting. She has long insisted she had no intention of mounting a second campaign for the White House four years from now, but the door is not entirely closed.

Beyond talk of future politics, Clinton's three-week absence from the State Department has raised eyebrows among some conservative commentators who questioned the seriousness of her ailment after she canceled planned Dec. 20 testimony before Congress on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

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