NEW YORK – A California physician who had his license to practice medicine revoked in the state because he refused to administer the anticoagulant medication Coumadin, believes Hillary Clinton’s use of the drug could be more life-threatening to her than the possibility of a recurring blood clot.
Dr. David K. Cundiff, who contacted WND after reading a WND story Thursday about Clinton’s use of the drug, said he is inclined to support the Democratic presidential candidate but is speaking out mainly because of concern for her personal health.
WND reported Thursday that the medication Clinton has taken since 1998 to deal with her blood-clotting problems – cerebral venous thrombosis – may have dangerous side effects. They include blurred vision and confusion – both of which she has been reported to have experienced – plus a tendency to bleed excessively even from minor injuries.
“My interest in cerebral venous thrombosis and in Hillary Clinton’s case is public health-based rather than political,” Cundiff explained to WND.
“I think that her medical risks are much more from the side effects of the Coumadin than the recurrence of a venous thrombosis.”
‘At high risk the rest of her life’
On his website, WhistleBlowerDoctor.org, Cundiff describes his concern about Clinton’s medications.
“Hillary Clinton has had three episodes of venous thrombosis (clots in veins): deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) in her leg in 1998 and 2009 and thrombosis in veins in her brain (cerebral venous thrombosis) in 2012. On July 31, 2015, Ms. Clinton’s doctor revealed that Ms. Clinton still takes the blood thinner (anticoagulant drug) Coumadin (warfarin),” the doctor writes.
“If her doctors follow current clinical practice guidelines, Coumadin or other blood thinners will continue for the rest of her life. This puts her at high risk for major bleeding.”
Taking into consideration Clinton’s medical history of suffering venous thrombosis, Cundiff calculates she has about five times the chance of a woman her age of developing another blood clot, amounting to a 20 percent chance over the next 10 years.
He writes that Clinton’s chance of dying from a blood clot if she is not taking Coumadin, or any other prescribed anticoagulant medication, is only about 1.5 percent. But if she continues taking Coumadin, her chance of a major bleeding episode before 2025 would be about 50 percent, with a 10 percent chance of experiencing a fatal or disabling hemorrhage.
Harvard-affiliated physician lends support
Cundiff’s concerns about the practice of prescribing anticoagulant medications for blood-clot patients has received support from Dr. Magdy Selim, M.D., Ph.D., at the Stroke Division, Department of Neurology, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Selim is also affiliated with the Harvard University Catalyst, a network of scientists also known as the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.
In an editorial titled “Cerebral Venous Thrombosis: Another Heparin Controversy,” Selim discussed favorably Cundiff’s published research on the dangers of prescribing anticoagulants like Coumadin to blood-clot patients.
After noting that Cundiff’s published research suffers from certain limitations encountered by referencing unpublished medical research data, Selim observed:
Despite these limitations, Cundiff raises valid concerns and questions of clinical and therapeutic importance that are yet to be fully answered. The use of anticoagulants in patients with CVT (blood-clots in the brain) poses a real risk: ICH (Intracerebral Hemorrhage, or bleeding within the brain).
Still fighting license revocation
On April 21, 2010, an administrative law judge in California rejected Cundiff’s petition to have his physician’s license reinstated in the case of a patient who died from clots. Cundiff stopped administering Coumadin to the patient, who had an alcohol problem the doctor believed could trigger internal bleeding.
After appealing all the way to the California Supreme Court, however, his petition was rejected.
“The Superior Court judge told me in court that all I needed to do to get my license reinstated was to admit that it was my error to stop heparin (another anticoagulant medication) and Coumadin in my patient with a DVT (deep vein thrombosis, or deep vein blood-clot) along with liver failure, advanced tuberculosis, severe malnutrition, alcoholism and tenuous social support,” he said.
He also had to promise to treat all future patients suffering venous thromboembolism with anticoagulants.
“I told him my Hippocratic Oath and I my own research and judgment on this issue would prevent me from committing to make either of those declarations,” Cundiff said.
“The only route that I will accept to get my license reinstated is for the Federal Drug Administration to declare all anticoagulant drugs contraindicated for venous thromboembolism,” he stressed.
Cundiff has filed a petition with the FDA regarding venous thromboembolism. He received an interim letter from the agency saying his situation was so complex that it needed more time than six months to respond.
“Once the FDA follows my petition and bans anticoagulants for venous thrombosis, I will request that Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris personally review my case and order my license reinstated,” Cundiff told WND.