Hillary Clinton cancels California trip after pneumonia admission in potential turning point in US election

 David Lawler, washington 

Hillary Clinton was on Sunday night facing serious questions about her health as she cancelled a campaign trip to California after admitting to suffer from pneumonia.

In what could be a major turning point in the bitterly contested presidential campaign, Mrs Clinton appeared to faint as she departed early from a ceremony honouring victims of the September 11 attacks at Ground Zero in New York City.

At first her campaign team claimed that Mrs Clinton had "overheated". But her doctor was later forced to admit that she had been diagnosed on Friday with a much more serious illness.

Hillary Clinton leaves a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of 9/11 CREDIT: BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Her Republican critics have been claiming for several weeks that the 68-year-old is not fit for the physical rigours of the presidency, seizing on a coughing fit she experienced as evidence of her frailty.

Mrs Clinton had explained the cough was due to allergies and dismissed the claims that she was ill as “conspiracy theories”.

The revelation cast doubt on her ability to fulfill her forthcoming campaign schedule and even led to speculation that she may have to step down from the race.

Mrs Clinton has so far cancelled a campaing trip to California because of her diagnosis. She was scheduled to leave on Monday morning for a two-day swing that included fundraisers and a speech on the economy.

Trump 9/11

Donald Trump arrives at the 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York CREDIT: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER

The episode also raised questions about the Clinton campaign’s reputation for secrecy.

Mrs Clinton is being treated with antibiotics, but pneumonia can be a seriously debilitating condition, which in the most serious cases can prove fatal.

Sunday's controversy was sparked when she was filmed leaving a ceremony to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks early, in a video that quickly spread online.

Secret Service agents held her upright as she entered a vehicle that whisked her away to recover at her daughter Chelsea’s apartment.

Mrs Clinton's staff confirmed that she left the ceremony, but would not initially comment as to where she had been taken.

No reporters accompanied Mrs Clinton as she departed, and her travelling press corps was reportedly asked to remain inside a media area as she left.

Clinton tells press she's feeling 'great' after appearing to faint

Mrs Clinton later emerged wearing sunglasses, smiling and waving for the cameras and well-wishers. She remarked that it was “a beautiful day in New York” and said she was feeling much better before climbing without help into an SUV.

It was not until some six hours later that her doctor announced that she had been suffering from pneumonia for at least two days.

Dr Lisa Bardack said Mrs Clinton had been diagnosed on Friday after an examination relating to her seasonal allergies, and prescribed antibiotics.

"Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia," Dr Bardack said in a statement released by Mrs Clinton's campaign.

"She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning's event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely."

The statement sparked immediate questions as to why Mrs Clinton had waited so long to make her illness public.

Donald Trump, who was also at the ceremony, had previously raised questions about whether Mrs Clinton possessed the “stamina” to serve as president.

At first, her aides declined to explain her exit yesterday, and would not disclose where she had been taken, before revealing that the Democratic nominee was at her daughter's apartment.

Hillary Clinton waves after emerging from an apartment building in New York

Hillary Clinton waves after emerging from an apartment building in New York CREDIT: AP PHOTO

Despite the campaign’s efforts to downplay the seriousness of her condition, there was intense speculation about whether should would have to cancel planned events, or even suspend her campaign.

The Clinton campaign had recently released a letter from her doctor describing the candidate as being in “excellent health”, but providing little supporting detail.

Source: The Telegraph

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