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Sen. Fetterman suddenly hospitalized

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA). (Official portrait)
February 09, 2023

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) was hospitalized Wednesday night after feeling lightheaded during a Senate Democratic retreat, months after suffering a near-fatal stroke during a closely-watched midterm campaign.

No evidence of a new stroke came up in initial tests at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., his communications director, Joe Calvello, said in a statement Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported. More tests were being run as the senator stayed at the hospital for observation.

“He is in good spirits and talking with his staff and family. We will provide more information when we have it,” Calvello said.

The 53-year-old Democrat, then the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, flipped a Senate seat in November by defeating Republican television personality Mehmet Oz. His more than $300 million campaign was the most expensive Senate campaign of the cycle, AP reported, and was among the most high-profile nationwide.

His health became a campaign issue when he suffered the stroke just before winning the Democratic primary. Fetterman was put on defense after he struggled to speak during a late-cycle debate against Oz. 

Following pressure from Oz, Fetterman released a medical report indicating he is “recovering well from his stroke” and “can work full duty in public office,” as reported by CNN. An AP profile from shortly after his victory said Fetterman still suffered from auditory processing disorder, a common aftereffect of strokes that impacts his ability to quickly understand speech.

A permanent closed-caption display has been installed at Fetterman’s desk in the Senate chamber for him to read the proceedings, TIME reported. Elsewhere in the Capitol, he can reportedly use a tablet to read live transcripts typed up by professional broadcast captioners.

Since being sworn in, Fetterman has sponsored bills calling for an “assault weapons” ban; Washington, D.C., statehood; and regulation of surveillance of certain worker data by employers.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.