Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) was hospitalized Wednesday in Washington, D.C., as he was attending a legislative retreat for Senate Democrats. Fetterman’s communications director Joe Calvello said, “Towards the end of the Senate Democratic retreat today, Senator John Fetterman began feeling lightheaded.”
Calvello said that the senator left the retreat meeting and called a member of his staff to come and pick him up. The staffer then drove Fetterman to the nearby George Washington University Hospital.
BREAKING: John Fetterman has been rushed to a DC hospital. Doctors fear he may have suffered another stroke
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 9, 2023
He added that doctors had explained they would continue to run tests overnight as the senator had been admitted to the hospital. Calvello reported that the initial tests run on Fetterman “did not show evidence of a new stroke.”
“The senator is in good spirits and talking with his staff and family. We will provide more information when we have it,” Calvello concluded.
Fetterman suffered a stroke last year during his campaign for the Senate seat he now holds. He later described the event as being “nearly fatal.”
Fetterman, 53, defeated Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz to take the seat vacated due to the retirement of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). The Democratic pick-up of the seat was crucial to their party maintaining control of the upper chamber and keeping Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in power.
Oz made Fetterman’s health issues a focus of his campaign. Nevertheless, the Democrats won the narrow contest with 50.5% of the popular vote. As a freshman senator, Fetterman took office on January 3.
Fetterman’s campaign refused to address the concerns raised about his health directly. As a candidate, Fetterman declined to release his medical records and was less than transparent with voters about his overall health.
Fetterman’s personal physician issued a one-page letter one month before Election Day last year declaring the candidate was fit to serve in Congress.
Dr. Clifford Chen wrote: “Overall, Lt. Gov. 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.”
Reporting that immediately followed the release of the doctor’s letter indicated that Chen personally donated money to Fetterman’s Senate campaign and had given money to multiple Democrats in recent years.
The senator still appears to suffer from the common stroke aftereffect described as “auditory processing disorder.” As a result, he often needs assistance from closed-captioning devices in Senate hearings, meetings and floor speeches. It also creates an apparent deficiency in his willingness or ability to hold traditional impromptu press meetings in the Senate hallways.