Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., has checked himself into a hospital to “receive treatment for clinical depression,” his chief of staff said Thursday.
Fetterman, the 53-year-old freshman senator who suffered a debilitating stroke while campaigning last year, was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland Wednesday night, Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson said in a statement.
“While John has suffered from intermittent depression throughout his life, it has only gotten worse in the last few weeks,” the statement said.
“On Monday, John was seen by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician to the United States Congress,” the chief of staff said. “Yesterday, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient treatment with Walter Reed. John has agreed and is being treated on a voluntary basis.”
“After examining John, Walter Reed’s doctors told us that John is getting the care he needs and will be well soon,” Jentleson said.
Fetterman was hospitalized last week after feeling light-headed. His doctors determined he had not suffered another stroke, his office said at the time.
“After what he’s been through over the past year, there’s probably no one less keen to talk about their own health than John,” his wife Gisele Fetterman said in two tweets Thursday afternoon. “I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs.”
She asked for privacy at the “difficult time for our family,” adding, “Take care. Hold on to loved ones, you are not alone.”
Fetterman missed voting on Capitol Hill Wednesday night and Thursday, NBC News reported.
Fetterman said in June he “almost died” after suffering a stroke in May, just before winning his party’s nomination for the Pennsylvania Senate seat held by now-retired Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
The stroke put Fetterman, then the state’s lieutenant governor, out of the campaign trail for months. When he returned publicly, Fetterman said he suffered from persistent auditory processing and speech problems.
During his only debate with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz in October, he had great difficulty expressing clear thoughts.
But Fetterman retained an electoral advantage over Oz, a famous doctor and TV host who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump even when he was not in public.
His win over Oz in the midterms turned a red seat blue and helped the Democrats extend their narrow Senate majority.
Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said he is proud of his Democratic compatriot “for getting the help he needs and for publicly acknowledging his challenges in breaking down the stigma on others.”
It’s common for stroke survivors to experience depression, and the cause can be biochemical or psychological, according to the American Stroke Association.
Fetterman remained frustrated with his health issues after a stroke throughout the campaign, his associates told NBC. His communication difficulties have also affected his relationship with his family, as has his absence from them due to his Senate duties, NBC reported.
“Millions of Americans, like John, struggle with depression every day. I look forward to seeing him return to the Senate soon,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said in a tweet.
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