Sen. John Fetterman has been released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a roughly six-week stay for depression treatment.
“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,” Fetterman (D-Pa.) said in a statement on Friday.
The 53-year-old freshman senator checked himself into the Bethesda, Md., hospital on Feb. 16 to get treatment for a “severe” bout of clinical depression.
“I am extremely grateful to the incredible team at Walter Reed. 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,” Fetterman said.
The senator’s communication director Joe Calvello wrote in a tweet Friday that Fetterman is in Braddock, Pa., and will be back on Capitol Hill on April 17, when the Senate is back in session.
“With the Senate in recess for the next 2 weeks, John will spend time with his family and constituents in PA, and return to DC when the Senate session resumes on 4/17,” Calvello said.
Fetterman’s office on Friday released notes from the doctor that oversaw the senator’s treatment at Walter Reed, Dr. David Williamson, who said the Pennsylvania Democrat’s depression is now in “remission.”
Williamson noted that when Fetterman checked himself into the hospital he displayed “severe symptoms of depression,” including low energy and motivation, minimal speech, poor sleep, slowed thinking, slowed movement, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness – but not suicidal ideation.
The doctor added that Fetterman was fitted for hearing aids during his hospitalization as it was discovered that he was suffering from “mild to moderate” hearing loss in both ears.
Williamson said that Fetterman expressed “a firm commitment” to continuing outpatient rehabilitation which could further improve his condition.
Fetterman’s public health struggles began May 13 of last year, when he suffered a stroke during the closing days of Pennsylvania’s Senate primary campaign, leaving him with hearing and other auditory processing issues that dogged him throughout his successful general election campaign against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Just weeks after being sworn into the Senate, he was hospitalized on Feb. 8 after feeling lightheaded during a Democratic Party retreat. He was released from the hospital two days later, and his office said that doctors had ruled out that he had suffered another stroke.
Williamson noted in his discharge briefing that doctors at Walter Reed also did not see any signs that he had suffered another stroke.
The Pennsylvania Democrat, wearing one of his trademark hoodies, flashed a thumbs up in a photo posted on his Twitter account Friday after his discharge.
His wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, also posted a tweet Friday showing her husband arriving at their home after his lengthy hospital stay.
In the short clip, the senator appeared to be warmly greeted by the family dog and his three children.
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