HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman has left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after six weeks of hospitalization for clinical depression and plans to return to the Senate when the chamber resumes session in mid-April, his office said Friday.

In a statement, Fetterman’s office said he was back home in Braddock, western Pennsylvania, with his depression “in remission,” and gave details of his treatment, including that his depression has been treated with medication and that he has hearing aids for hearing loss sluggish.

Fetterman, who has a wife and three school-age children, said he was happy to be home.

“I look forward to being the father and husband I want to be and the Senator that Pennsylvania deserves. The Pennsylvanians have always had my back, and I will always have their backs,” Fetterman said. “I am very grateful to the incredible team at Walter Reed. The care they provided changed my life.”

Fetterman will return to the Senate the week of April 17.

Fetterman reported to Walter Reed after weeks of what Fetterman described as reclusive and uninterested in eating, talking about work, or engaging in the usual banter with staff.

Fetterman, 53, had been on his duty in Washington less than a month and was still recovering from the aftermath of the stroke he suffered during his campaign last May when, on the advice of Capitol physician Dr. Brian P. Monahan went to Walter Reed.

Post-stroke depression is common and treatable with medical and talk therapy, doctors say.

Fetterman’s return will be welcome news for Democrats who are struggling to find votes for some nominations, especially without Fetterman there.

Fetterman’s office also released details of his treatment among healthcare professionals led by Dr. David Williamson, a neuropsychiatrist.

When admitted, Fetterman had “severe symptoms of depression with low energy and motivation, minimal speech, poor sleep, slowed thinking, slowed movement, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, but no suicidal thoughts,” according to the statement, which is attributed to Williamson.

Symptoms had steadily worsened over the previous eight weeks, and Fetterman had stopped eating and drinking. That led to low blood pressure, the statement said.

“His depression, now overcome, may have been an obstacle to getting engaged,” it said.

Fetterman suffered a stroke last May while running in a three-way Democratic presidential campaign. The stroke almost killed him, he said, and he needed surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator to treat two heart conditions, atrial fibrillation and cardiomyopathy.

One of Fetterman’s main after-effects of the stroke is an auditory processing disorder that can render someone unable to speak fluently and quickly convert spoken conversation into meaning. Fetterman uses devices in conversations, meetings and congressional hearings that transcribe spoken words in real time.


Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Follow Marc Levy on Twitter: @timelywriter

Marc Levy, The Associated Press


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