Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman’s campaign released a letter from his doctor Wednesday saying he is in good health, following pressure from his opponent and the media for an update on the effects of his May stroke.
The Democratic lieutenant governor’s campaign released the letter from Dr. Clifford Chen, who practices at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Chen wrote Fetterman “is well and shows a strong commitment to maintaining good fitness and health practices. He has no work restrictions and can work fully in public office.”
Fetterman spent much of the summer off the campaign trail after suffering a stroke days before the primary in the race to fill retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat. Chen noted that Fetterman’s lungs, heart and strength were normal, and that he “spoke intelligently with no cognitive defects.” Fetterman has conducted closed-caption interviews due to hearing problems during his recovery, Chen noted.
“His speech was normal and he continues to exhibit symptoms of an auditory processing disorder that can manifest as hearing difficulties,” Chen wrote. “Occasional words he will ‘miss’ which appears as if he is not hearing the word but is actually not being processed properly. His hearing of sound such as music is not affected. His communication is greatly improved compared to his first visit assisted by speech therapy which he has been in regularly since the stroke.”
Four days before the May 17 primary, Fetterman’s campaign announced that he was in the hospital recovering from a stroke, then underwent a procedure on Election Day to have a pacemaker and defibrillator inserted.
Fetterman has insisted he is in good health despite calls from his The Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz and several newspaper editorials to release his medical records. Oz, who had lived in New Jersey for decades before deciding to run for the Pennsylvania seat, produced a four-page letter from a doctor in New York last month. His campaign has attacked Fetterman for the stroke, with one staffer saying he would not have suffered it if he had eaten more vegetables. The Fetterman campaign has highlighted controversies, including the promotion of questionable health products and advice, tied to Oz’s long-running talk show, .
Fetterman returned to the campaign trail in August and credited his wife, Giselle, with spotting the signs of a stroke and saving his life. In a statement released along with Chen’s letter, Fetterman said, “Since my stroke five months ago, one of the best parts of this campaign has been the incredible number of Pennsylvanians who have shared their own stories with us about the major health issues they have met and overcome in their lives.”
In addition to questioning his health, Oz and his allies have hammered Fetterman on his positions on criminal justice reform and his work on the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, narrowing the race the Democrat spent the summer leading. Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed its assessment of the race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss-Up.” The two are set for their only debate on October 25.