PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Democrat John Fetterman’s health following a stroke has become a campaign issue. On Tuesday night, Fetterman will use a captioning devicewith Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz to read the questions posed to him.
Doctors say it’s a common symptom after a stroke, having difficulty processing spoken words, but that doesn’t mean there’s a problem understanding what’s being said.
The closed-captioning technology that Fetterman will use during Tuesday’s debate was tested during a campaign stop over the weekend. The system turns spoken words into written ones so that Fetterman can read what is being said.
“It’s very common for patients to need aids such as closed captioning,” said Dr. Leah Croll of Temple Health.
Croll, a stroke neurologist at Temple University Hospital who does not treat Fetterman, says stroke patients may have persistent problems with auditory processing and interpreting spoken words.
Does it reflect on cognitive functioning?
“Having difficulty with auditory processing certainly does not imply any degree of cognitive impairment,” Croll said.
Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May, reassured voters he was ready to serve. Her doctor did the same.that the candidate “has no work restrictions and can work full-time in the public service”.
“As long as I have subtitles, I’m able to understand exactly what’s being asked,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman says he continues to recover from what he calls a near-fatal stroke that was treated with an implanted pacemaker and defibrillator. He has only just increased his campaign appearances.
“I survived,” he said, “and that means I’m going to fight for all of you because I’m back on the pitch.”
Doctors say most stroke-related symptoms resolve within months, but they can take years, so if elected, Fetterman could continue to need closed captioning in the Senate.
Croll says there are a variety of devices that stroke patients can access.
“The possibilities are endless for how someone chooses to cope with their symptoms,” Croll said.
Croll says stroke survivors can have mild to severe symptoms. Many functions without limitations. It all depends on prompt treatment.
Fetterman says his stroke was caused by an irregular heartbeat, which he says is now under control with medication.