Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s (D) primary care physician said in a new letter that his recovery from the stroke he suffered in May is progressing well and that he “has no work restrictions and can work full duty in public office.”
Clifford Chen, a doctor at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), wrote in a medical report that a Friday exam showed the Democratic Senate nominee is keeping up “good fitness and health practices” during his recovery and that his vitals look strong.
“He spoke intelligently without cognitive deficits. His speech was normal and he continues to exhibit symptoms of an auditory processing disorder which can ‘come across as hearing difficulty. Occasional words he will ‘miss’ which seems like he doesn’t hear the word but it is actually not processed properly,” Chen wrote. “His hearing of sound such as music is not affected.”
“His communication is significantly improved compared to his fist visit assisted by speech therapy which he has attended on a regular basis since the stroke,” Chen continued. “Overall, Lt. Governor 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.”
The report marked the first time the campaign released medical information from someone who has examined Fetterman since June, having maintained since then that he is in good health. It also comes exactly one week before Fetterman and Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee, hold their first and only debate in Harrisburg. Fetterman will use closed captioning for the event, which he has used during interviews since suffering the stroke.
Rebecca Katz, Fetterman’s senior adviser, said in a statement the examination was “nothing but good news.”
“By all measures John is making great progress in his recovery and doing everything he needs to do to live a healthy life. John is already fully ready to serve, and he’s still getting better every single day,” Katz said. “It’s not easy recovering from a stroke in public — let alone doing it while running in the top Senate race in the country — but John has worked hard to get here, and it shows.”
Fetterman told The Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board last week that there is “no guarantee” that he will “ever be 100 percent.”
“But I have been able to be functioning and giving you an interview here today, or getting up in front of 3,000 people. To me that’s the ultimate transparency,” Fetterman continued.
“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. It reminds me why I’m fighting to slash health care costs and make it so every Pennsylvanian can spend more time with the people they love,” Fetterman added in a statement following the release of Chen’s letter.
The Philadelphia Inquirer was the first to report Chen’s letter.
According to the latest AARP survey, Fetterman leads with 48 percent to 46 percent for Oz as the race has narrowed in recent months. AARP’s previous poll taken in June showed Fetterman with a 6-point advantage, but Republicans have narrowed the gap after a consistent barrage of ads have attacked the lieutenant governor for his stance and actions related to crime.