Mehmet Oz speaks at a 3/15/22 press conference in Harrisburg (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso).
By Justin Sweitzer
As Dr. Mehmet Oz continues to make the health of his Democratic opponent a focal point of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, Oz on Friday released a collection of his own medical records, including a letter from his doctor that deems him to be in “overall excellent health.”
The release of Oz’s medical records follows an editorial penned by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that suggested that both candidates – Oz and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman – release their health records to “reassure the public” about their ability to serve.
The heightened focus on the health of both candidates – particularly Fetterman – comes after Fetterman suffered a stroke just days before the primary in May. Since that time, Fetterman has opened up his heart troubles, though he still, at times, trips over his words and repeats certain phrases, which his campaign has attributed to ongoing issues with auditory processing.
The most recent letter released by Oz, which was written by New York primary care physician Dr. Rebecca J. Kurth, portrayed Oz as being in “overall excellent health,” while noting that his body mass index is slightly above the ideal range. Kurth also wrote that Oz’s cholesterol levels are “borderline elevated,” but she did not recommend medication to address it.
Tests for blood pressure, prostate health, kidney function, liver function and blood counts all came back normal, according to the letter. Oz also released records from 2014 and 2018, along with electrocardiogram results and findings related to a pre-cancerous polyp that was discovered during a colonoscopy in 2011.
“In the interest of full transparency over my own health, I saw my doctor again to get the most current appraisal of my health status,” Oz said in a statement. “I agree that voters should have full transparency when it comes to the health status of candidates running for office.”
Reached for comment, Fetterman doubled down on a letter from his own physician that his campaign released in June. In that letter, Dr. Ramesh R. Chandra said that Fetterman avoided going to the doctor for five years and stopped taking prescribed medications, but that “if he takes his medications, eats healthy, and exercises, he’ll be fine.”
Following his stroke, Fetterman’s campaign revealed that atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm – was the cause of Fetterman’s stroke. He also has a condition called cardiomyopathy, which makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. Still, in a statement, Fetterman insisted that the letter confirms he is healthy enough to serve in the Senate.
“In June, I released a letter from my doctor where he clearly stated that I am fit to serve,” Fetterman said in a statement. “Dr. Oz built his entire career by lying to people about health. I trust my actual doctors over the opinion of a charlatan who played one on TV.”
Fetterman also criticized Oz over the letter he released Friday, arguing that it shows Oz doesn’t live in Pennsylvania.
“Today Dr. Oz confirmed that he does not actually live in Pennsylvania, because no one who does would have a primary care doctor on 5th Avenue in Manhattan,” Fetterman said. “We didn’t need to know Dr. Oz’s bone density. We need to know whether he would vote to ban all abortions after 15 weeks. We need to know whether he would vote to raise the minimum wage. We need to know whether he even plans to stay in Pennsylvania after the election.”
Oz’s campaign has ramped up its critiques on Fetterman’s health in recent weeks, particularly as it has looked to pressure Fetterman into extending the length of a debate between the two candidates scheduled for Oct. 25, where Fetterman will use a close captioning system to assist him with lingering speech issues.
An Oz spokesperson on Thursday accused Fetterman of “trying to spend as little time debating Dr. Oz as possible.” Fetterman’s campaign, in turn, has maintained that both candidates agreed to a 60-minute debate, and that the Oz campaign is attempting to “move the goalposts.”
Justin Sweitzer is a reporter for City & State Pa., where this story first appeared.
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