Sen. John Fetterman Remains Hospitalized, Undergoing Tests

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, takes the stage at an election night party in Pittsburgh, early Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Associated Press

February 10, 2023

An MRI and other tests have ruled out another stroke for Fetterman, who was taken to the hospital Wednesday after feeling lightheaded.

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman, who had a stroke on the eve of the primary election last May, remained hospitalized and undergoing tests after feeling lightheaded, with tests so far negative for another stroke or seizure, his office said Thursday evening.

An MRI at George Washington University Hospital, along with other tests run by doctors, rule out a new stroke, Fetterman’s communications director Joe Calvello said in a statement Thursday evening.

Fetterman was being monitored with an electroencephalogram (EEG) — an instrument that measures brainwaves — for signs of a seizure, Calvello said.

“So far there are no signs of seizure, but he is still being monitored,” Calvello said.

Calvello gave no indication about when Fetterman might leave the hospital, but had said late Wednesday that Fetterman was “in good spirits and talking with his staff and family.”

Fetterman felt lightheaded Wednesday while attending a Democratic retreat in Washington and went to the hospital, staying overnight for testing.

Fetterman, 53, succeeded Republican Sen. Pat Toomey after a hard-fought contest against Republican nominee Mehmet Oz. He defeated the celebrity heart surgeon by 5 percentage points and flipped a seat that was key to Democrats holding the Senate majority. 

His campaign was derailed on May 13 when he suffered what he later called a near-fatal stroke. He refused to drop out and spent much of the remaining months of the campaign in recovery.

Oz’s campaign made an issue of whether his opponent was honest about the effects of the stroke and whether Fetterman was fit to serve — openly mocking his health at times — but the Democrat insisted his doctors said he could have a full recovery.

In an Associated Press profile just weeks after his victory, Fetterman was described as still suffering from auditory processing disorder, a stroke’s common aftereffect. The disorder can leave a person unable to speak fluidly and quickly process spoken conversation into meaning.

The effects of the stroke were apparent in Fetterman’s uneven performance during the fall campaign’s only debate. He struggled to complete sentences and jumbled words, causing concern among Democrats that his election was doomed.

On election night, he told cheering supporters he ran for “anyone that ever got knocked down that got back up.”

Fetterman, a presence at 6-foot-8 with a clean-shave head and a goatee and known for wearing hoodies and shorts, was the state’s lieutenant governor from 2019-2023. He served as mayor of Braddock from 2006-2019.

Keystone managing editor Patrick Berkery contributed to this report.

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