Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Hospitalized After Suffering a Stroke

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, speaks at a Centre County Democrats' breakfast event at a hotel at the Mountain View Country Club, Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Boalsburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

By Patrick Berkery

May 15, 2022

The leading candidate in Pennsylvania’s Democratic US Senate primary had a stroke Friday triggered by an irregular heartbeat, but insisted he’d be back on the campaign trail soon.

Just three days before Pennsylvania’s Democratic US Senate primary, leading candidate John Fetterman announced Sunday that he had suffered a stroke.

The 52-year-old lieutenant governor confirmed in a statement that he had a stroke on Friday caused by a clot from his heart being in atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that is potentially serious but treatable.

Fetterman has been hospitalized all weekend at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital, but insisted the stroke wasn’t slowing down his campaign. 

“The good news is I’m feeling much better, and the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage,” Fetterman said in the statement. “They’re keeping me here for now for observation, but I should be out of here sometime soon. The doctors have assured me that I’ll be able to get back on the trail, but first I need to take a minute, get some rest, and recover.”

In a 16-second video released by his campaign, Fetterman, speaking clearly, explained that he “just wasn’t feeling very well” on Friday and decided to go to the hospital at the urging of his wife, Gisele, who also appears in the video. She corrects her husband by saying “I made you get checked out, because I was right, as always.”

Gov. Tom Wolf and Fetterman’s Democratic rivals in the Senate primary, US Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, expressed well wishes on social media.

Even potential GOP rivals wished Fetterman a speedy recovery, with Dr. Mehmet Oz noting that he has experience treating his condition.

“I have cared for atrial fibrillation patients and witnessed the miracles of modern medicine in the treatment of strokes, so I am thankful that you received care so quickly,” Oz tweeted. “My whole family is praying for your speedy recovery.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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