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Rutgers professor urges voters to pay attention to Clinton's health

<p>Sandra Swider via doctorboblahita.com | Rutgers professor of medicine Robert Lahita appeared on a Fox Business program to discuss Secretary Hillary Clinton’s health.</p>

Sandra Swider via doctorboblahita.com | Rutgers professor of medicine Robert Lahita appeared on a Fox Business program to discuss Secretary Hillary Clinton’s health.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has questioned Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's health throughout the last few months of his campaign, including an attack ad released in early October.

In August, Rutgers Professor of Medicine Robert Lahita said voters should be concerned with Clinton's health during a program on Fox Business Channel.

The interview aired on Aug. 18 on "Risk & Reward" with Deirdre Bolton in response to a comment by TV personality Drew Pinsky that Clinton's health should raise alarm. Pinsky's show, "Dr. Drew On Call," was canceled a few days later.

While on the show, Lahita referenced a 2015 letter released on Clinton’s campaign website but said the summary of Clinton's health does not provide enough details.

The letter on Clinton's website was written by her doctor, Lisa Bardack, of the Mount Kisco Medical Group.

On Fox, Lahita spoke about Clinton’s “unusual story” regarding her two blood clots and a stroke she had in 2012. He considered the clots and the two bouts of thrombosis to be “disconcerting to say the least.”

“This concerns (us) objectively no matter where your politics are. The concerns about her stamina and her health are justified because you have a lot in the liberal media saying this is a conspiracy to disqualify her somehow,” Bolton said.

Lahita does not believe Clinton's health record is a conspiracy and mentioned previous U.S. presidents who “concealed their health during their campaign.” He said candidates who hid their health had “dire effects” on the country. 

When former President Woodrow Wilson fell ill in 1919, his wife ran the White House for a few years.

“Perhaps, have an impartial panel of positions review the data and make that kind of a decision before the Americans got to the polls," he said.  “We should be able to see the lab results ourselves."

Lahita believes Clinton's health should be public because it is vital information to voters. Lahita said candidates have to authorize a release of their medical results, because doctors are not able to divulge their patients' records without permission.

While Lahita is affiliated with Rutgers University in a voluntary capacity, he is not considered a Rutgers professor, said Robert L. Johnson, the Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean of the New Jersey Medical School. 

"Even if someone were a full-time professor here, we'd be really careful about how they represent the University in public," Johnson said. "At Rutgers, we would be concerned about it if a faculty member gave credence to his or her ad hominem impression and then used the Rutgers reputation to support them. Then, that would be a problem."

Professors are free to say anything they want as private citizens, he said, but speaking in their official capacity would subject them to libel suits.

Various media organizations, including the Conservative Tribune and the New York Times both credited Lahita as a Rutgers professor.

Lahita's media representative said he would not comment on Clinton’s health until after the election.

Hernan Guarderas is a School of Arts and Sciences senior, majoring in journalism and media studies. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. See more on Twitter @hguarderas93.

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