Health Scare Shakes Bernie Sanders Campaign


Mark Datu

The campaign for Bernie Sanders shook in early October as news spread of him suffering from a heart attack. On October 1, 2019, Bernie Sanders, Senator of Vermont and candidate for the democratic primaries, had experienced chest pains during one of his campaigns. He was administered into the hospital where doctors had inserted two stents into a blocked artery. The Sanders campaign, however, did not confirm until a few days after that Sanders actually suffered from a heart attack.

Sanders spent three nights in the hospital. His doctors, Arturo E. Marchand Jr. and Arjun Gururaj, stated that Sanders’ “hospital course was uneventful with good expected progress.” Hospital staff noted that Sanders frequently strolled the halls, stating he was always “up and about.” Sanders later stated that he will be returning to his home in Vermont and that his campaign would take a short hiatus.

Due to Sanders heart attack, scrutiny from critics have arisen. Sanders’ opposition began to question his legitimacy as a candidate due to his old age and health. Supporters have started to also question his campaign due to age concerns. The Sanders campaign have made it their effort to reduce the amount of doubt surrounding Sanders’s age. During a Democratic primary debate in Iowa, Sanders shut down questions about his health, stating “he’s never felt more better in his life.”

Despite all of the negative opposition to Sanders’ campaign, Sanders stated after leaving the hospital that, “after two and a half days in the hospital, I feel great, and after taking a short time off, I look forward to getting back to work.” Sanders has stated himself that his age is an asset. Building off of this idea, he concurred that due to his old age, he has gained more experience in fighting for free healthcare and tuition than his opponents. 

Sanders was also featured on the Saturday Night Live show with Jimmy Kimmel. As Jimmy Kimmel began to interview Sanders in front of the audience, he questioned Sanders about the heart attack incident. Sanders replied by stating that he’s excited for the campaign and is ready to continue moving forward. Jimmy Kimmel humorously took out a stethoscope and stated “I’ll be the judge of that,” asking the Democratic candidate if he could check his heart beat. After checking his heartbeat, Kimmel remarked about him being “healthy” and continued on with the interview.