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Fetterman Chief of Staff Warns Brain Damage From Stroke May Be Permanent

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Democrat Sen. John Fetterman’s brain injury following a near-fatal stroke last spring has likely left him with permanent damage, according to his chief of staff.

On Friday, his office announced that he had left the hospital after a two-day stay after the Pennsylvania Democrat suffered an episode of dizziness.

“A few minutes ago, Senator Fetterman was discharged from the hospital. In addition to the CT, CTA, and MRI tests ruling out a stroke, his EEG test results came back normal, with no evidence of seizures. John is looking forward to returning to the Senate on Monday,” his spokesman Joe Calvello said on Twitter.

As the 53-year-old senator began day three in the hospital for what his team called “lightheadedness” The New York Times said that some of those close to Sen. Fetterman are concerned about his health.

His transition from candidate to senator has been made tougher by the strains of both the campaign and the job, The New York Times reported.

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He “has had to come to terms with the fact that he may have set himself back permanently by not taking the recommended amount of rest during the campaign. And he continues to push himself in ways that people close to him worry are detrimental,” the New York Times reported after Fetterman was hospitalized.

“What you’re supposed to do to recover from this is do as little as possible,” Adam Jentleson, Fetterman’s Chief of Staff, told the Times. But Fetterman “was forced to do as much as possible — he had to get back to the campaign trail. It’s hard to claw that back.”

Even one of his Senate colleagues said that an adjustment has had to be made.

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“We’re going to have to learn our own styles with it,” Minnesota Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar said after experimenting with the tablet at a Democratic caucus lunch. “What I was saying was accurate even when I talked fast. I wanted to make sure it was accurate. It was kind of to imagine what it would be like to be him.”

“He answers like you would answer anyone,” she said. “It’s us that have to get used to it; he’s used to it.”

Because of his limitations, he has not been able to speak to reporters at the Capitol as he walks from room to room.

“Before the stroke, he was the kind of person who loved the give-and-take with reporters,” his chief of staff said. “The challenge is to be able to get back to that place, given the current limitations.”

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Fetterman’s team spent the entire election season insisting that their candidate was fit to serve in the Senate and did not have remaining health issues. But in November, a Fetterman advisor admitted, after his victory, that he will not be able to perform his job as normal, Breitbart news reported.

“Spotted in Senate basement: John Fetterman He didn’t answer when I asked if he’ll be able to wear his hoodie on Senate floor,” Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic said in a tweet that caught the eye of Fetterman advisor Rebecca Katz.

“Two things we need to get out of the way: 1) John Fetterman has a suit and will wear it to the Capitol. 2) He is still recovering from a stroke and has lingering auditory processing challenges. The way Hill reporters are used to yelling questions at Senators will not work here,” she said.

It was a tough contest for the Senate between Fetterman and the Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz, where even Fetterman’s hometown newspaper backed his Republican opponent.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said in its endorsement that Oz was the “better bet for Pennsylvania” and cast doubts on Fetterman’s ability to serve as senator due to his recent stroke and his debate performance.

“Neither candidate has experience as a U.S. senator. Given the lack of substance during the campaign, many voters will have to make a leap of faith on Nov. 8.

“We believe Mr. Oz is the better bet for Pennsylvania,” it said.

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