An Urgent Message to Bill Clinton

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Dear 42nd President
William Jefferson Clinton:

With all their
good intentions, and the use of sophisticated, expensive technologies,
your doctors are allowing your heart disease to progress as if it
were a runaway train destined for a wreck. Your cardiologist, Dr.
Allan Schwartz, at New York Presbyterian Hospital is telling you
further blockage is the normal course of your disease, and your
diet and lifestyle are not involved. Medical experts expressing
their opinion in the news since your surgery are misleading the
public into believing that the proper management of this disease
is through constant surveillance and repeated surgical interventions.
This is big business talking, and in addition to mismanagement of
your personal care, one result will be an increase in the already
more than one million angioplasties and 500 thousand bypass surgeries
performed annually in the US.

Recall your
first painful encounter with the heart surgery business on September
3, 2004 when you were hospitalized following an episode of chest
pain. You had quadruple bypass surgery three days later. A couple
of days ago, on Thursday, February 11, 2010, you needed the heart
surgeons again. You had two bare metal stents placed in your heart
following a few of days of mild chest discomfort. This history will
continue to repeat itself until you seriously change your eating
habits and get these meddling doctors out of your life. You are
missing another “teaching moment” and bypassing another
chance to change health and healthcare in America.

In a letter
I sent to you the day following your hospitalization in 2004, I
with you to refuse bypass surgery. I told you that bypass surgery
does not save lives in most cases, and I warned you of the brain
damage you would suffer from being on the heart-lung bypass machine.
Likely you did not read that letter. Following your quadruple bypass
you were a noticeably different man. Your sometimes-irrational behavior
during Hillary Clinton’s campaign was in part due to your surgically-induced
mental decline. I sent another
in the spring of 2008 apologizing for the harm my colleagues
caused you and their failure to offer you intensive medical therapy
founded on a healthy diet. I believe you received that letter or
read the Wall
Street Journal article
that followed about your brain damage.
Since you became aware of your functional loss you have seemed to
me to be in much better control when before the public.

I am taking
the opportunity in this letter to try to help you again. By helping
one of our country’s greatest statesmen, I may be able to help
other heart patients (which happens to include most adults following
the Western diet). This is my third attempt, but likely not my last,
because, after all, your heart doctors (Dean Ornish, MD being an
outstanding exception) believe your disease is unstoppable. Remember
what they said: they are going to manage your future health by constant
surveillance and repeated surgical interventions. These well-educated
professionals are dead wrong on how to care for a patient such as

In order for
you to stop having false hope you need to be told that heart surgery,
including bypass surgery and angioplasty with or without stents,
does not save lives in the vast majority of cases. You have not
been fixed by either procedure. The reason for this is that the
bypass surgeons and cardiologists are operating on the stable hard
fibrous plaques that do not kill people. Why do they operate on
nonlethal lesions? Because they can. These large fibrous stable
plaques, which have been present for years if not decades, are visible
by technologies like angiograms and heart scans. Once visualized,
they become targets for knives, grafts, sutures, and catheters.

The disease
that really kills is largely invisible to your doctors. Tiny festering
sores that rupture cause heart attacks, and the deaths that follow
these heart attacks in nearly half the cases. In order to understand
the underlying problem, think about pustules or pimples rupturing
on a teenager’s face, but in this case the deadly activity
is inside your arteries. In medical terminology, these tiny sores
are called “volatile plaques.” When they pop, substances
generally referred to as “products of injury” are released.
The body’s response is to form a blood clot to cover up the
wound (similar to the blood clot that forms when you cut your hand
with a knife). If the blood clot (called a thrombus) is large enough,
then the flow in the entire heart artery can be blocked off. The
heart muscle that lies distal to this sudden blockage usually dies
– and that is how
a heart attack occurs

Why do heart
surgeons not operate on the killing part of this disease? Because
they can’t. They cannot see these tiny festering sores with
current technology. Even if they could see these “silent killers,”
they have no surgical techniques to stop them from exploding. The
only solution is to allow the body to heal your steadily-progressing
disease by making serious dietary changes. (Medications, such as
aspirin and statins, when judiciously used, can be of benefit as

I realize you
were frightened by the chest discomfort on both occasions (2004
and 2010). Fortunately, changing to a healthy low-fat diet (like
the Pritikin, McDougall, Ornish, or Esselstyn Diets) reduces the
intensity and/or stops the chest pains very quickly. Improvement
in blood flow begins with the first good meal. In a matter of hours
the blood naturally thins and a blood clot is less likely to form
if a volatile plaque does rupture (aspirin helps too). Spontaneous
is a powerful force – within the first week the
risk of pustule rupture is greatly reduced. In a matter of months,
reversal of artery disease can be seen by current technologies (angiograms
and PET scans).

The truths
I have given you are indisputable and most of your doctors are well
aware of the solid research behind what I have told you. Your problem
now is the same as everyone else’s: making the change. This
is not easy, especially when you have almost no conservative medical
support. If you do not change you can expect your future to be more
like the past, but probably worse, because you are getting older.

the original letter.

16, 2010

John McDougall,
MD [send him mail],
a board-certified Internist, is the founder and medical director
of the nationally renowned McDougall
, a ten-day, residential program located at a luxury
resort in Santa Rosa, CA – a place where medical miracles occur
through proper diet and lifestyle changes. He has been studying,
writing and “speaking out” about the effects of nutrition on disease
for over 30 years. Dr. McDougall is the author of 11 national bestselling
books, writes a monthly newsletter, and co-founded Dr. McDougall’s
Right Food’s Inc., a producer of high-quality vegetarian cuisine.
You may subscribe to the free
McDougall Newsletter

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