Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate John Fetterman released a statement on his health and a letter from his cardiologist on Friday.
Dr. Ramesh Chandra of Alliance Cardiology P.C. wrote in the letter that she first saw Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, in 2017 and diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation.
She had prescribed medications, an improved diet and exercise but stated that Fetterman did not go to any doctor for five years and discontinued taking his medications.
“As my doctor said, I should have taken my health more seriously,” said Fetterman in a statement. “The stroke I suffered on May 13 didn’t come out of nowhere. Like so many others, and so many men in particular, I avoided going to the doctor, even though I knew I didn’t feel well. As a result, I almost died. I want to encourage others to not make the same mistake.”
Chandra also wrote that he has a condition known as cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. Her prognosis stated that if Fetterman follows the prescribed regimen of medications, healthy eating and exercise, he will be fine and able to “campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without a problem.”
“I want to emphasize that this was completely preventable,” said Fetterman in the statement. “My cardiologist said that if I had continued taking the blood thinners, I never would have had a stroke. I didn’t do what the doctor told me. But I won’t make that mistake again. Taking care of others is important but you must include yourself in there too.”
“Doctors have told me I need to continue to rest, eat healthy, exercise, and focus on my recovery, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. It will take some more time to get back on the campaign trail like I was in the lead-up to the primary. It’s frustrating – all the more so because this is my own fault – but bear with me, I need a little more time. I’m not quite back to 100% yet, but I’m getting closer every day.”
Pennsylvania law gives party nominees until Aug. 15 to withdraw from a general election. In addition, should Fetterman’s health decline and he need to be replaced on the ballot, the executive committee of the state’s Democratic Party would meet to pick the backup nominee within 30 days of Fetterman’s withdrawal, according to party bylaws.