Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman finally left a hospital in Washington after a two-day stay, his office said Friday.
Fetterman has struggled to recover from a near-fatal stroke he suffered on the campaign trail in 2022.
He continues to suffer the aftereffects of the stroke, in particular auditory processing disorder, which can render someone unable to speak fluidly and quickly process spoken conversation into meaning.
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Fetterman reportedly hears voices like Charlie Brown’s teacher in “Peanuts” — and his campaign chief said the brain damage may be permanent.
Fetterman was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after feeling ill during a Senate Democratic retreat.
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.”
In November, Fetterman, 53, won the seat held by now-retired Republican Pat Toomey, spending the last five months of the campaign recovering from the serious stroke even as he waged a hard-fought contest against GOP nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz.
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Fetterman, who was Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, won by 5 percentage points, flipping a seat that was key to Democrats holding the Senate majority. More than $300 million was spent during the campaign, making it the most expensive Senate race in 2022.
Fetterman is an outsized presence on Capitol Hill, standing 6-foot-8 with a clean-shaven head and a goatee, and was considered a rising star in progressive politics.
His campaign was temporarily derailed on May 13, just days before the Democratic primary, when he suffered the stroke that he said nearly killed him.
He underwent surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator to manage two heart conditions, atrial fibrillation and cardiomyopathy, and spent much of the summer recovering and off the campaign trail.
He refused to release his medical records or allow his doctors to answer reporters’ questions, as Oz made an issue of whether his opponent was honest about the effects of the stroke and whether Fetterman was fit to serve.
Critics have repeatedly questioned whether Fetterman could continue to serve, considering he was hospitalized just two months into his first term.
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The effects of the stroke were apparent in Fetterman’s disastrous performance during the fall campaign’s only debate when he struggled to understand questions and form complete sentences.
On election night, he told cheering supporters he ran for “anyone that ever got knocked down that got back up.”
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article