Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who is still recovering from a debilitating stroke last year, will likely be hospitalized “for several weeks” while being treated for clinical depression, NBC News reporter Ryan Nobles reported on the Today show Friday morning. Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Wednesday night, according to his office.
Fetterman was hospitalized for several days after attending the State of the Union address for testing after reporting feeling light-headed. All tests were reported negative and Fetterman returned to work in the Senate where he attended a committee hearing Wednesday:
Excerpt from the NBC report:
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“A senior aide told NBC News that Fetterman, 53, will likely be in inpatient care for clinical depression for “a few weeks.”
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., “checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of clinical depression,” said his chief of staff, Adam Gentelson. @Ryannobles Latest reports. pic.twitter.com/NOfB2og0aL
— Today (@TODAYshow) February 17, 2023
Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, issued a statement Thursday asking for privacy.
This is a difficult time for our family, so please respect our privacy. For us, children come first.
Take care of yourselves. Keep your loved ones close, you are not alone.❤️
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) February 16, 2023
With both of Pennsylvania’s senators out due to illness, the Senate is deadlocked in a 49-49 tie until one of them returns. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is recovering from surgery Tuesday for prostate cancer The Senate is out next week for Washington’s birthday holiday break and is scheduled to be in session next week.
TGP reported in a New York Times article last week that Fetterman experienced “severe mental health challenges” that caused him “emotional damage” (quote):
…Fetterman, 53, a 6-foot-8, tattooed and goateed Democrat from Pennsylvania who suffered a near-fatal stroke last May and won one of the most competitive seats in November’s midterm elections, has never been able to blend seamlessly into the marble corridors of Congress.
But her adjustment to work in the Senate has been made much more difficult by the strain of her recovery, which has left her with physical disabilities and severe mental health challenges that have made the transition extraordinarily challenging — even with accommodations. Help him adapt.
“What you have to do to recover from this is to do as little as possible,” said Adam Gentelson, his chief of staff. Instead, Fetterman was “forced to do as much as he could—he had to get back on the campaign trail. It’s hard to push back.”
…The latest health scare convinced his staff that Fetterman needed a better plan to take care of himself, both physically and mentally.
Fetterman declined to be interviewed for this story. But aides and confidants describe his introduction to the Senate as a difficult one, filled with unfamiliar responsibilities that are taxing for someone still in recovery: meetings with constituents, attending caucus and committee meetings, public appearances at White House events and State of the Union addresses. , as well as making a presence in Pennsylvania.
…hearing problems are inconsistent; They often worsen when he is in a stressful or unfamiliar situation. When it’s bad, Fetterman describes it as trying to recreate the slurred voice of the teacher in the “Peanuts” cartoon, whose words can never be deciphered.
The stroke — after which he was fitted with a pacemaker and defibrillator — also took a less apparent but very real psychological toll on Fetterman. It’s been less than a year since the stroke transformed him from a man who advocated machismo — a central part of his political identity — to a physically altered version of himself, and he’s sometimes disappointed that he still hasn’t bounced back. The man he once was. He has to accept the fact that he may have permanently set himself back by not taking the recommended amount of rest during the campaign. And he continues to push himself in a way that worries those close to him.
“It’s stressful, going through that experience in the context of one of the most high-profile Senate races in the country,” Gentelson said.
NBC’s Ryan Nobles reported that Fetterman’s staff said the possibility of his resignation “has never been discussed and is not on the table.”