HARRISBURG, Pa. — dr Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, released his health records as he maneuvers to keep questions about his Democratic rival John Fetterman’s recovery from a stroke in the center of the hotly contested campaign.
dr Rebecca Kurth in New York City wrote in a four-page letter that she found the 62-year-old heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity in “excellent health” at an annual checkup Thursday.
The letter noted that Oz has a total cholesterol level that is “borderline high” but can be addressed through diet, and mentions that in 2010 he had a polyp, a growth that can sometimes become cancerous, removed from his colon. An electrocardiogram, a test that records electrical signals in the heart to detect heart problems, done Thursday came back normal.
“His exam is healthy and blood tests are favorable,” Kurth wrote. She did not recommend any medication.
The release of the health records comes as Oz is trying to close a gap in the polls and is increasingly making Fetterman’s fitness a central issue in his campaign.
Fetterman, 53, has been silent about releasing medical records or giving reporters access to question his doctors, now more than four months after suffering a stroke in May that has had lingering effects on his speech and hearing. .
Two editorial boards, The Washington Post and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, have asked Fetterman to release the medical records after refusing to debate Oz more than once. The Post-Gazette said that should include cognitive tests and making their doctors available to journalists.
He said that Oz should release his medical records as well, a request Oz quickly agreed to.
Fetterman’s campaign had no immediate comment Friday. He has been receiving speech therapy, and in June his campaign released a letter from his cardiologist that said Fetterman will be fine and able to serve in the Senate if he eats healthy foods, takes prescribed medications and exercises.
The presidential battleground race to replace outgoing GOP Sen. Pat Toomey could help determine control of the closely divided Senate, and Democrats see it as perhaps their best shot at a seat among a handful of close national races. .
While it is customary for presidential candidates to release health records, there is no such custom in US Senate races. Some US senators have, in the past, released medical records when running for president.
In a statement, Oz said “voters must have full transparency when it comes to the health status of candidates running for office.”
Oz, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has also questioned Fetterman’s veracity in disclosing the effects of his stroke.
Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, says doctors expect him to make a full recovery from the stroke and that he is improving rapidly, cognitively unaffected and maintaining the healthiest habits of his life.
Fetterman suffered the stroke on May 13, four days before easily winning his Democratic primary. His victory came hours after he underwent surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator. Three weeks after the stroke, Fetterman revealed that he “nearly died” and his cardiologist’s letter revealed that he had a serious and potentially fatal heart condition.
Fetterman has been campaigning and speaking at public events, but he sometimes slurs, misses the occasional word, and has a hard time hearing through background noise and quickly processing what he’s hearing. He recently agreed to a debate against Oz, which will take place on October 1. 25, though Oz had pushed for more.
Fetterman will receive subtitles in the debate, but the candidates are still arguing over terms. Oz is pushing to expand it to 90 minutes, from 60 minutes, to account for subtitle delays.
Publicly, top Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have tried to calm the party’s nerves over Fetterman’s condition, saying they are confident he is capable of serving.
Still, Fetterman has given reporters limited access to question him directly, doing only a few interviews since the stroke, all through closed-captioned video to help him with auditory processing.
In a 2016 Senate race in Illinois, Democrat Tammy Duckworth released years of medical records when there were questions about the physical condition of Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who had suffered a stroke in 2012.
Kirk was still suffering from the effects of the stroke four years later and, like Fetterman, did not provide access to his doctors or medical records. Still, Duckworth said during a debate that he thought Kirk was capable of doing the job, but “the problem is he’s not doing it.”
At the end of the race, Kirk’s campaign published a one-page letter from an attending physician that said the senator had made “full cognitive recovery” while speaking haltingly, dealing with limited use of his left leg and an inability to use your left arm. , the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.
Kirk ended up losing his bid for re-election.
Associated Press medical writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report. Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at
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