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Fetterman recovering from stroke, guarantees return to PA Senate campaign

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Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman campaigns for U.S. Senate at a meet and greet at Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport on May 10, 2022 in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Friday said he “almost died” after he suffered a stroke days before he won the state’s Democratic Senate primary race, and just isn’t yet able to return to the campaign trail.

“I must have taken my health more seriously,” Fetterman said in a press release released by his campaign Friday afternoon. “The stroke I suffered on May 13 didn’t come out of nowhere. Like so many others, and so many men specifically, I avoided going to the doctor, though I knew I didn’t feel well.”

“Consequently, I almost died,” he said.

Fetterman, 52, vowed to be able to compete in the final election this November. But he admitted that “it can take some more time to get back on the campaign trail like I used to be within the lead-up to the first.”

Doctors have advised Fetterman to rest and concentrate on his recovery.

“It’s frustrating — all of the more so because that is my very own fault — but bear with me, I want slightly more time,” he said. “I’m not quite back to 100% yet, but I’m getting closer day-after-day.”

“This race is so vital for Pennsylvania and for the country. I will be ready for it, and I can not wait to get back on the trail,” he said.

The campaign also shared a letter from Dr. Ramesh Chandra, who wrote that if Fetterman “takes his medications, eats healthy, and exercises, he’ll be advantageous” and “should have the ability to campaign and serve within the U.S. Senate with no problem.”

Chandra also noted that Fetterman was diagnosed in 2017 with an irregular heart rhythm and a “decreased heart pump.”

The statement from Fetterman’s campaign got here a day after NBC News reported some Democrats growing concerned in regards to the nominee’s health and the dearth of a timeline for his return to the campaign trail.

Fetterman will face off against the eventual winner of a recount within the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary. The 2 front-runners in that race are Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician backed by former President Donald Trump, and former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick.

That recount have to be accomplished by next Tuesday. Counties must submit their results by noon ET on the next day.

The Democratic primary, in contrast, was blowout victory for Fetterman. He won every county within the state, NBC News projected.

The battle to fill the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey could prove to be one of the vital competitive, and consequential, elections of the midterms. Democrats try to maintain their narrow grip on the Senate, which is evenly split between 50 Republicans and the 50 senators who caucus with Democrats.

Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote gives Democrats the slimmest majority control of the chamber.

Fetterman’s campaign said that it raised $1.6 million in only 24 hours after he won the first. Those donations got here just after Fetterman underwent a successful pacemaker surgery on the day of the election.

Fetterman’s statement Friday held up his stroke as a cautionary tale about taking good care of one’s health.

“I would like to encourage others to not make the identical mistake,” he said.

“Back in 2017, I had swollen feet and went to the hospital to get checked out. That is once I learned I had a heart condition. Then, I didn’t follow up. I assumed losing a few pounds and exercising can be enough. After all it wasn’t,” Fetterman said.

“It isn’t something I’m happy with, nevertheless it is something I hope that others can learn from. So please: hearken to your body, and concentrate on the signs. Because ignoring them — and avoiding the doctor because you would possibly not like what they should inform you — could cost you your life,” he said.

“I would like to emphasise that this was completely preventable,” Fetterman said, noting that his cardiologist said that if he had continued taking blood thinners, “I never would have had a stroke.”

“I didn’t do what the doctor told me. But I won’t make that mistake again,” he said. “Caring for others is very important, but you could include yourself in there too.”

Chandra, of Pittsburgh-based Alliance Cardiology, said within the letter that after diagnosing Fetterman with atrial fibrillation in 2017, “I had prescribed medications together with improved weight-reduction plan and exercise and asked him to follow up again in the next months.”

“As an alternative, I didn’t see him again until yesterday,” Chandra wrote. “John didn’t go to any doctor for five years and didn’t proceed taking his medications.”

Chandra also said that Fetterman’s pacemaker is “working perfectly and he’s doing well.”

“I do consider that he takes his recovery and his health very seriously this time,” Chandra wrote.

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