After a six-week hospitalization for severe depression, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman has been discharged. The recovering stroke victim has returned to his suburban Pittsburgh home for additional time off before a planned April 17 return to the Senate.
I am so happy to be home. I’m excited to be the father and husband I want to be, and the senator Pennsylvania deserves.
Pennsylvanians have always had my back, and I will always have theirs. pic.twitter.com/mNrPOp08rB
— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) March 31, 2023
While Fetterman’s hospitalization began in mid-February, he says depression started setting in soon after he won one of the most hotly-contested races of the midterms, defeating the Trump-endorsed Dr. Oz and flipping the open seat to the Democrats.
Fetterman suffered “severe symptoms of depression with low energy and motivation, minimal speech, poor sleep, slowed thinking, slowed movement, feelings of guilt and worthlessness,” according to a discharge brief written by Dr. David Williamson, neuropsychiatry chief at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. He didn’t have suicidal thoughts, according to the doctor.
His treatment included medications, talk therapy and therapeutic walks at Walter Reed’s rooftop healing garden. Over his six-week stay, “sleep was restored, he ate well and hydrated, and he evidenced better mood, brighter affect and improved motivation, self-attitude and engagement with others.”
His return is good news for the Democrats, who have a thin 51-49 edge in the Senate.
Fetterman was initially hospitalized over feelings of light-headedness. However, doctors found the cause was dehydration and malnourishment, springing from the deeply depressed Fetterman’s failure to eat and drink. His symptoms had “progressively worsened over the preceding eight weeks and Fetterman had stopped eating and taking fluids, causing him to develop low blood pressure,” said Williamson.
The 53-year-old suffered a near-fatal stroke on May 13, 2022 — four days before the Pennsylvania primary — and was left with communications impairments that were painfully evident on those occasions where his campaign dared put him in front of cameras and microphones.
Anchor plays Fetterman’s disastrous answer on fracking from the debate, then asks “do you understand why people are questioning your ability to be our senator?”
Fetterman: “No, I—I believe that, that my support of fracking has always been, been one that—in the past.” pic.twitter.com/jIkkESIGHP
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 2, 2022
His depression hospitalization came just days after a lengthy and jarring New York Times profile that obliterated previous campaign assurances of Fetterman’s fitness for Senate duty following his stroke.
While the campaign was going, those assurances were eagerly echoed by leftist media — who vilified those who questioned them — but here’s the Times after the seat was secured for the Democrats:
“His adjustment to serving in the Senate has been made vastly more difficult by the strains of his recovery, which left him with a physical impairment and serious mental health challenges that have rendered the transition extraordinarily challenging — even with the accommodations that have been made to help him adapt.”
If Fetterman were to step down, his successor through the next scheduled statewide election would be appointed by Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro.
Appearing on CBS Sunday Morning, Fetterman told Jane Pauley that, even though the was coming off a huge victory, “depression can absolutely convince you that you actually lost,” and that he began a “downward spiral…I had stopped leaving my bed. I’d stopped eating.”
While not yet exemplary, Fetterman’s speech appears to have improved significantly, at least in this clip:
Six weeks after entering Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for inpatient treatment for depression, Sen. @JohnFetterman shares his struggle with depression, his health, and more in an intimate interview with Jane Pauley this “Sunday Morning.” pic.twitter.com/3o2926I48B
— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) March 31, 2023
Roughly one in three stroke survivors experience symptoms of depression, though few require hospitalization. Trying to overcome serious physical and mental challenges to a degree that he can function as a United States senator can’t be helpful.
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