On 8 August 2016, a new Twitter account titled @HillsMedRecords appeared and published what the user behind the account claimed were leaked medical records attesting to the poor health of Hillary Clinton.
The account was quickly deleted by its owner, but screenshots of the purported records continued circulating on Twitter, allegedly showing documents prepared by Dr. Lisa Bardack on 5 February and 20 March 2014:
According to these alleged “medical records,” Hillary Clinton was diagnosed with “early-onset Subcortical Vascular Dementia” in 2013, and subsequent doctor visits suggested the condition was worsening. Additionally, the records noted that Clinton suffered “intensified Complex Partial Seizures” between 2013 and 2014.
One suspect aspect of the “leak” was that Dr. Bardack was widely named in real press reports as having attested to Clinton’s medical fitness to serve as president. On 31 July 2015, TIME mentioned Bardack by name in an article about a letter she had released documenting Clinton’s physical health:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in “excellent physical condition,” her doctor said in a letter.
According to Dr. Lisa Bardack, her physician, Clinton, is in good health, currently diagnosed with only hypothyroidism and seasonal pollen allergies. The letter is the first of its kind to be released in the 2016 cycle, and comes as Clinton, 67, has come under scrutiny from some Republicans for her age and questions about her health stemming from a 2012 incident in which she suffered from a blood clot and concussion.
Quite conveniently (and suspiciously), Bardack’s name wasn’t prominent in the news as Clinton’s physician prior to the release of that letter, and just over a week later her name was used to give credibility to “leaked” records (unusually coincidental timing, to say the least):
The “leaked” documents seemed rather obvious forgeries, as they didn’t resemble anything like standard medical records, they weren’t printed on any form of letterhead, nor did they include the doctor’s signature (as if whoever crafted then hadn’t actually seen the genuine letter from Dr. Bardack and thus had nothing to imitate). They also exhibited some obvious formatting differences from the official letter issued by Dr. Bardack: In the “leaked” documents Bardack is listed as “Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Mount Kisco Medical Group,” while the letterhead of the verified document references her as “Chair of Internal Medicine[,] Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.” The “leaked” documents also don’t look like medical records, but rather like a report provided for purposes extrinsic to a standard medical charting (with no indication to whom or for what purpose such a report might have been provided).
We contacted the Mount Kisco Medical Group to ask whether the displayed documents matched internal formatting of medical records or reports but were unable to immediately reach anyone there who could answer that question. In addition to contacting the practice, we also asked doctors to review the “leaked” records to determine whether they contained obvious signs of fabrication visible to physicians (but not necessarily laymen), and they unanimously agreed the documents appear to be forgeries.
Dr, Bardack also released a statement attesting to the falsity of the “leaked” medical records:
As Secretary Clinton’s long time physician, I released a medical statement during the campaign indicating that she is in excellent health. I have recently been made aware of allegedly ‘leaked’ medical documents regarding Secretary Clinton with my name on them. These documents are false, were not written by me and are not based on any medical facts. To reiterate what I said in my previous statement, Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as President of the United States.