Fetterman releases doctor's letter with clean bill of health

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Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman’s campaign released a letter on Wednesday from his doctor stating 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 strong commitment to maintaining good fitness and health practices. He has no work restrictions and can work full duty 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 without cognitive defects.” Fetterman has been conducting interviews with closed captioning because of hearing issues during his recovery, as Chen noted.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

“His speech was normal and he continues to exhibit symptoms of an auditory processing disorder which can come across as hearing difficulty,” wrote Chen. “Occasional words he will ‘miss,’ which seems like he doesn’t hear the word but it is actually not processed properly. His hearing of sound such as music is not affected. His communication is significantly improved compared to his first visit assisted by speech therapy which he has attended on a regular basis since the stroke.”

Four days before the May 17 primary, Fetterman’s campaign announced that he was in the hospital recovering from a stroke, and 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 Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz and multiple newspaper editorial boards to release his medical records. Oz, who had resided 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 wouldn’t 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, .

Mehmet Oz
Senate candidate Mehmet Oz. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Fetterman returned to the campaign trail in August, thanking his wife, Giselle, for spotting the signs of a stroke and saving his life. In a statement released along with the letter from Chen, Fetterman said, “Since my stroke five months ago, one of the best parts of this campaign has been the unbelievable number of Pennsylvanians who have shared their own stories with us about the major health problems they’ve faced and overcome in their lives. “

In addition to questioning the state of his health, Oz and his allies have been hammering Fetterman on his positions on criminal justice reform and his work on the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, narrowing the race the Democrat had spent the summer leading. Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed the race’s rating from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss-Up.” The two are set for their only debate on Oct. 25.