Freshman Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania likely will be in the hospital much longer than many expected, according to NBC News.
The senator, who has had extensive health issues, including a stroke while on the campaign trail, checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Wednesday to treat symptoms of “clinical depression,” according to a news release shared on Twitter by his wife, Gisele.
NBC News correspondent Dasha Burns reported Friday that Fetterman is expected to have a long stay at the hospital.
“A senior aide to Senator Fetterman tells me he will likely be in inpatient care for clinical depression for ‘a few weeks,’” Burns said on Twitter.
Fetterman’s Hospital Visit Turns Into Something Much Bigger After Worsening Symptoms: Report
“A senior aide says it’s been difficult to distinguish the stroke from the depression – saying it’s hard to tell at times if Fetterman is ‘not hearing you, or is he sort of crippled by his depression and social anxiety,’” she tweeted.
For context, it's not unprecedented: Just last year Sen Ben Ray Lujan was out for a few months following a stroke, Sen Chris Van Hollen out for a few weeks.
Before that – Sen Tim Johnson in 2007 was out for 8 months. Sen Mark Kirk in 2012 was out for a year following a stroke.
— Dasha Burns (@DashaBurns) February 17, 2023
It’s worth noting that Burns was attacked by other reporters and Fetterman’s wife in October after she reported on his ongoing health difficulties.
“He still has lingering auditory processing issues as a result of the stroke, which means he has a hard time understanding what he’s hearing,” Burns said at the time.
MSNBC: John Fetterman "has a hard time understanding what he's hearing…he still has some problems, some challenges with speech…he had a hard time understanding our conversations." pic.twitter.com/EYLNVxb0Cy
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 11, 2022
“This is just nonsense,” business reporter and podcaster Kara Swisher said in a tweet about Burns’ report. “Maybe this reporter is just bad at small talk.”
Gisele Fetterman said the NBC News reporter should face “consequences” for the report, which she said was “openly ableist” toward her husband.
In the news release Wednesday, Fetterman’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, said, “While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks.”
“On Monday, John was evaluated by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress,” Jentleson said. “Yesterday, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed. John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis.
“After examining John, the doctors at Walter Reed told us that John is getting the care he needs, and will soon be back to himself.”
After what he’s been through in the past year, there’s probably no one who wanted to talk about his own health less than John. I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs. pic.twitter.com/SfuwWTSUcG
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) February 16, 2023
This is the second time Fetterman has been hospitalized during his brief time as a senator. Earlier this month, he was admitted to George Washington University Hospital after experiencing light-headedness.
According to NBC News, senior aides to the senator gave insight into how the depression was influencing Fetterman’s behavior and why it gave them cause for alarm.
One said Fetterman had become “more and more reserved with staff,” the outlet reported.
“This isn’t who he was when he was early in recovery,” a top aide said, referring to his stroke recovery in May. “This is a much different beast.”
Despite these hits to his physical and mental well-being, the prospect of Fetterman resigning from his Senate seat “was never discussed, not even on the table in any sense,” the aide said.
freakin moron, he should have bowed out after his stroke. depression/social anx. really, that’s politics. btw, i hope he does get better, i don’t wish anything bad on him.
look, if anyone hasnt figured this out yet. fetterman was run because they didnt want the seat to fall to a republican and the dimo’s had the sympathy angle and the mail in voting angle and the media apparatus to accomplish this! now, that fetterman has (wink, wink!) won well, if he has to leave they will appoint the one that they wanted in the first place but was to radical to win in his place. so, you see in their eyes its win-win!
The Dream Ticket for The Democratic Vegetable Party…Biden/Fetterman! Can’t lose!
Elder Abuse. Gisele Fetterman and Jill Biden should spend decades in prison.