Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman on Friday said he should have taken his health “more seriously” leading up to a stroke last month that has left many in his party wondering whether he will be able to sufficiently campaign in a closely-watched race.
“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,” Fetterman said. “As a result, I almost died. I want to encourage others to not make the same mistake.”
He offered, however, an optimistic assessment about his health going forward.
“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,” Fetterman said in a statement. “I’m not quite back to 100% yet, but I’m getting closer every day.”
Fetterman acknowledged that the incident last month was not the first time he suffered symptoms of a heart condition, but that he had not followed up with doctors or taken the recommended medication.
The statement included a letter from his cardiologist, which revealed he has cardiomyopathy, a condition the American Heart Association describes as “a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.”
Fetterman’s cardiologist, Dr. Ramesh Chandra of Alliance Cardiology, noted in his letter that if the Pennsylvania Democrat follows doctors’ orders, he “should be able to campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without a problem.”
Fetterman is facing concerns over an uncertain timetable for returning to the campaign trail. He has appeared publicly only in a recorded video nearly three weeks after he suffered a stroke and surgeons implanted a pacemaker with a defibrillator to regulate his heartbeat.