HARISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) – Pennsylvania’s Gov. John Fetterman, a leading Democrat in a high-profile race in the state Senate, suffered a stroke a few days before the primary, but was on his way to “full recovery.” The company said Sunday.
The 52-year-old Fetterman, who confirmed he was hospitalized all weekend, insisted a health emergency did not slow down his campaign. But the stunning discovery, made two days before the Pennsylvania primaries, created a cloud of uncertainty over the Democratic leader’s candidacy in what could be one of the party’s best opportunities in the Senate.
“Given everything, I feel good,” Fetterman said in a text message to the Associated Press.
On Friday morning, even before Fetterman was due to appear at a scheduled election event at the University of Millersville, Fetherman’s wife, Giselle, “remarked that John was not himself, and shortly after he began to speak vaguely, and his was taken to hospital, ”the campaign took place. said a spokesman.
In a 16-second video posted by his company, while sitting, Fetterman clearly explained that on Friday he “just didn’t feel very well” and decided to go to the hospital at his wife’s urging. He described the situation in more detail in a written statement.
“I had a stroke that was caused by a heart clot that had been in A-fib rhythm for too long,” Fetterman said. He said doctors were able to remove the blood clot by “reversing the stroke,” and took control of his heart.
“The good news is that I feel much better and doctors tell me I haven’t gotten cognitive impairment,” he said in a statement.
Fetterman’s health questions have been circulating all weekend after he canceled scheduled public appearances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. His campaign cited health issues but was not specific until Sunday.
His company explained the delay with public disclosure, saying Fetterman’s condition “has been evolving in real time since Friday. We wanted to state something if we had a clearer idea of his health. “
Fetterman did not say how many more will be in the hospital.
“They are still keeping me here to watch, but I have to leave soon,” he said in a statement. “The doctors assured me that I would be able to return to the trail, but first I need to take a moment, rest and recover.”
Futterman’s future treatment regimen is still being developed, but it will include a healthier diet in addition to rest, a company spokesman said.
Democrats are considering the race to replace Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring, as one of the best opportunities to get a Senate seat this fall. On Tuesday, voters will determine the candidates for the general election from both parties.
Among others in the republic are celebrity heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, former hedge fund manager David McCormick and conservative commentator Katie Barnett. Democrats choose from four people, including Fetterman, three-time U.S. representative Conor Lamb and Malcolm Kenyatta.
Thousands of early votes have already been cast.
Fetterman is a strong favorite of the Democrats. He led in polls and fundraising from the start, even as the party establishment rallied around Lamb. Despite such support, it was difficult for Lamb to reach voters or even break Fetherman’s reputation among voters in the primary election.
Lamb tweeted that he was interviewing on television when he learned of Fetterman’s stroke.
“Haley and I keep John and his family in our prayers and wish him a full and speedy recovery,” Lamb wrote.
Kenyatta called Fetterman an “incredible family man.” “My prayers are with him and his family as he recovers from this stroke,” he tweeted. “I look forward to his return to the campaign soon.”
And on the Republican side, Oz noted that he has experience treating Fetherman’s condition.
“I have cared for patients with atrial fibrillation and witnessed the wonders of modern medicine in the treatment of stroke, so I am grateful that you received help so quickly,” Oz tweeted. “My whole family is praying for your speedy recovery.”
Fetterman’s heart disease, atrial fibrillation, occurs when the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, go out of sync with the pumping action of the lower chambers. Sometimes patients experience tremors or palpitations, but many times they are unaware of the episode. A-fib is more common in the elderly, and other risks include high blood pressure or a family history of arrhythmias. It causes 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations a year in the United States
Fetterman, who is 6 feet 8 feet tall, has been open about his desire to lose weight in the past. He weighed over 400 pounds before losing almost 150 pounds in 2018.
His imposing growth was a significant part of his political appeal.
The former mayor of western Pennsylvania has tattoos on his arms, a clean-shaven head and a goatee. He swears on social media and wears shorts almost everywhere, even in winter.
He promised to move forward on Sunday despite deteriorating health.
“Our campaign is not slowing down one step and we are still on track to win these primaries on Tuesday and turn that seat in the Senate in November,” he said. “Thank you for all the support and please come out and vote.”