Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) has been discharged from the hospital.
Fetterman was released from Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on Friday evening. He will return home to Pennsylvania to continue his recovery, then will return to work on April 17, when the Senate returns from recess. Fetterman checked himself into a mental health facility at Walter Reed in February, to be treated for clinical depression.
“I am so happy to be home,” Fetterman wrote in a post on his Senate Twitter account. “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.”
“I am extremely grateful to the incredible team at Walter Reed,” Fetterman added. “The care they provided changed my life. I will have more to say about this soon, but for now I want everyone to know that depression is treatable, and treatment works. This isn’t about politics — right now there are people who are suffering with depression in red counties and blue counties. If you need help, please get help.”
According to a statement from Dr. David Williamson, chief of neuropsychiatry and medical director of Walter Reed, Fetterman was admitted on February 15 with severe symptoms of depression, including low energy and motivation, minimal speech, poor sleep, slowed thinking, slowed movement, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Fortunately, Fetterman did not show signs of suicidal ideation. But his symptoms had progressively worsened over a period of eight weeks; Fetterman stopped eating and drinking, causing low blood pressure and possibly hurting blood-flow to his brain.
Doctors at the Neuropsychiatry Unit, along with Cardiolgy and Neurology specialists from Walter Reed, examined his medical records and performed additional tests. There were no signs of a new stroke, and his brain activity was stable. His heart was also healthy with no clots. Fetterman’s low blood pressure was attributed to poor hydration and weight loss. The Cardiology team adjusted his medications while his depression was handled with medication therapy.
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Fetterman’s mood steadily improved over the following weeks, the statement continued. He slept better, ate well and hydrated, and he seemed happier and more motivated, and his attitude and engagement with others also improved. The report concluded that his depression went into remission because of the treatment. Fetterman committed to long-term treatment for depression, the report said.
The doctors also evaluated his auditory processing abilities, which were hampered by the stroke he suffered in May. Fetterman was fitted for hearing aids, and worked with speech therapists. Fetterman’s depression may have been a barrier to engaging with his doctors, the report stated, but improvement in his condition may have improved his speech abilities. Williamson said that his speech would continue to improve with continued outpatient rehab.
POLITICO first reported that Fetterman would return to the Senate on Wednesday. According to a report published by POLITICO, sources close to the freshman Keystone State senator have indicated that he recovered well and is ready to get back to work as soon as possible.
A source close to the senator told CNN that he would likely be “as good or better than his best days post-stroke.”
Fetterman’s colleague, Bob Casey (D-PA), told The Hill that he had visited Fetterman in recent days, remarking that he looked and sounded well.