Fetterman to stay in hospital for weeks for depression care

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US Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) leaves a classified briefing for US senators regarding the latest unidentified objects shot down by US forces on Capitol Hill on February 14, 2023 in Washington, US.

Evelyn Hochstein | reuters

A senior aide to the senator told NBC News that Sen. John Fetterman, D-PA, will receive inpatient hospital care for “a few weeks” as he seeks treatment for clinical depression.

The expected length of Fetterman’s hospital stay was revealed hours after his office revealed that the 53-year-old freshman lawmaker checked himself into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Wednesday night.

Fetterman suffered a life-threatening stroke during the campaign last year, and has continued to experience health issues while in office. His office said at the time that he had been hospitalized after feeling lightheaded last week, although doctors ruled out the possibility that he had suffered a second stroke.

“While John has experienced depression his entire life, it has only become severe in recent weeks,” Adam Gentleson, Fetterman’s chief of staff, said in a statement.

“After examining John, doctors at Walter Reed told us that John is receiving the care he needs and will make a speedy recovery,” Gentleson said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Fetterman’s return to the Senate won’t be a matter of days, a senior aide told NBC Thursday night.

“We’re looking at a few weeks,” according to Ally, as patient care progresses as doctors try different drugs and dial in the right dose.

A spokeswoman for Fetterman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Calls made to the senator’s offices in Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Harrisburg were not immediately answered.

Fetterman’s absence from Capitol Hill will temporarily reduce Democrats’ slim 51-49 Senate majority, potentially making it harder for the polarized chamber to meet its goals. Congress is working to prepare a bill before summer to raise the US debt ceiling to prevent the country from defaulting on its obligations, among other legislative priorities. The Senate is not in session next week.

NBC reported that Fetterman missed the vote on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Fetterman’s latest hospitalization resulted in an outpouring of support from his political allies. Many of them praised the senator for being open about her struggle with depression, which is still a stigma in America.

“John, Gisele – Jill and I are thinking of your family today,” President Joe Biden tweeted Friday.

The President said, “Millions of people struggle with depression every day, often in private. Providing the care you need is brave and important. We are grateful to you for leading by example.”

Depression is a common experience after a stroke. Fetterman’s aide told NBC that the senator has struggled to adjust to his current condition, which has prompted him to seek treatment.

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