On Wednesday, Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman tried to quell continuing questions about his health by releasing a positive letter from his primary-care physician.
The letter, first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, was written by Clifford Chen, a doctor based in Duquesne who is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Chen, who first examined Fetterman in May and then again on October 14, wrote that the Pennsylvania lieutenant governor is “recovering well from his stroke and his health has continued to improve.” He noted that Fetterman is taking his prescribed medications and exercises regularly and that “his strength was normal in all four extremities without any strength or coordination deficits.”
Fetterman has acknowledged that the massive stroke he suffered in May left him with some auditory-processing issues but maintains that he’s improving every day and is physically capable of holding office if victorious in November. Republican Mehmet Oz, his opponent for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, has sought to make Fetterman’s health a central issue of the race.
The doctor’s letter is still far from what Oz and even some media outlets have requested from the Fetterman campaign: the lieutenant governor’s complete medical records and history. During an interview with NBC News, which was conducted using closed captioning to aid Fetterman, he said he’s been transparent about his health, citing a past note from his doctor saying he was able to campaign. The interview drew significant criticism from disability advocates for its framing of the candidate’s auditory-processing issues.
In his letter, Chen wrote that Fetterman is still exhibiting symptoms of an auditory-processing disorder but that he “spoke intelligently without cognitive deficits.”
In a statement released with the report, Fetterman said voters have shared stories of their own health struggles with him since having his stroke.
“It reminds me why I’m fighting to slash health care costs and make it so every Pennsylvanian can spend more time with the people they love,” he wrote. “Unfortunately for Dr. Oz, I’m ready to serve and continue to get better every single day.”