Freshman Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday after he felt “lightheaded,” but doctors have reportedly ruled out another stroke as the cause of his health issues, according to Politico.
Given that Fetterman is still recovering from the major stroke he suffered less than a year ago in May 2022, there are genuine concerns that the stressful environment and taxing duties of his job in the U.S. Senate may result in substantial setbacks to his health, including increased odds of suffering another stroke.
Doctors “rule out a new stroke”
Wednesday evening, Sen. Fetterman’s office released a statement to announce that the senator had left a Senate Democratic retreat event after “feeling lightheaded” and was transported to a hospital by his staffers.
“Initial tests did not show evidence of a new stroke, but doctors are running more tests and John is remaining overnight for observation,” Fetterman’s communications director Joe Calvello said in the statement. “He is in good spirits and talking with his staff and family. We will provide more information when we have it.”
Calvello followed through and provided an update on Thursday evening with a pair of tweets that said, “About an hour ago Sen. Fetterman received the results of his MRI. According to John’s doctors at The George Washington University Hospital, the results of the MRI, along with the results of all of the other tests the doctors ran, rule out a new stroke.”
“John is being monitored with an EEG for signs of seizure — so far there are no signs of seizure, but he is still being monitored,” the self-described “consigliere” for the Pennsylvania senator added. “Our team will continue to provide information as it comes in and we will have more updates as we get them.”
Fetterman suffers from “physical impairment and serious mental health challenges”
Politico noted that then-candidate Fetterman had suffered a debilitating stroke in May 2022 but still won Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary for the state’s open Senate seat, and despite clear and obvious mental and physical issues amid his rushed recovery, also managed to defeat his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in November’s general election.
The outlet noted that Fetterman’s rushed “recovery became a major contention point during the campaign,” and added that “Republicans questioned his ability to work as a senator, while supporters of Fetterman applauded his bravery.”
As it turns out, according to a rather revealing article from The New York Times, applauded bravery aside, the concerns about the senator’s rushed recovery and ability to do the job he was elected to do were wholly justified, and not just by his sudden hospitalization about a month after assuming office.
The Times detailed some of the several accommodations that have been made by the Senate, his colleagues, and others on Fetterman’s behalf, but reported that “his adjustment to serving in the Senate has been made vastly more difficult by the strains of his recovery, which left him with a physical impairment and serious mental health challenges that have rendered the transition extraordinarily challenging — even with the accommodations that have been made to help him adapt.”
“What you’re supposed to do to recover from this is do as little as possible,” the senator’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, acknowledged. Instead, Fetterman “was forced to do as much as possible — he had to get back to the campaign trail. It’s hard to claw that back.”
Voices sound like “Peanuts” teacher; damage may be permanent
The outlet went on to describe Fetterman’s “neurological condition that impairs his hearing” and requires the constant use of talk-to-text technology for him to process what other people are saying, as otherwise, the senator has admitted that what he hears is akin to “the muffled voice of the teacher in the ‘Peanuts’ cartoon, whose words could never be deciphered.”
The Times further revealed that the senator “is frustrated at times that he is not yet back to the man he once was. He has had to come to terms with the fact that he may have set himself back permanently by not taking the recommended amount of rest during the campaign. And he continues to push himself in ways that people close to him worry are detrimental.”
To be sure, nobody wishes ill will against Fetterman and all hope and pray that he recovers quickly … and then retires from office, as this hospitalization only confirms what many Republicans and neutral observers said last fall — Fetterman had no business continuing to run for office in light of his serious health condition and is incapable of effectively serving in the role he was inexplicably elected to fill.