US Senator John Fetterman checks into hospital with severe depression

US Democratic Senator John Fetterman has checked himself into a hospital near Washington DC to receive treatment for severe depression, his office said.

The Pennsylvania lawmaker has faced depression “off and on throughout his life”, a statement said.

He was elected in November and suffered a debilitating stroke last year while campaigning for the seat.

Last week, he spent two days in hospital after being admitted. He was reported to be feeling light-headed.

Mr Fetterman’s depression grew more “severe” in recent weeks, his chief of staff Adam Jentleson said in a statement on Thursday. 

The aide said the 53-year-old senator’s decision to seek treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center came after consultation with the acting physician in Congress, Dr Brian Monahan.

“John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis,” Mr Jentleson said.

“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.”

It is unclear how long Mr Fetterman will remain in hospital. Unnamed aides told the New York Times they anticipate it will be longer than a few days.

Mr Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, praised him on social media for seeking treatment.

“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,” she tweeted. “I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs.”

A senior aide, who worked on Mr Fetterman’s campaign and is part of his Senate staff, told the Washington Post that Mr Fetterman had been withdrawn since coming to Washington.

“It’s tough being away from home, he’s someone who isn’t the most patient guy, and it’s been tough going to DC when he’s still dealing with auditory processing issues,” the aide reportedly said.

On Thursday morning, Mr Fetterman was notably absent from a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee called to discuss nutrition programmes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in Congress, tweeted that he is glad that Mr Fetterman “is getting the help he needs and deserves”.

“Millions of Americans, like John, struggle with depression each day,” he continued, adding that he looks forward to his colleague’s return to the Senate.

Mr Fetterman was admitted to George Washington University Hospital last week after feeling unwell during a Democratic retreat.

Testing later ruled out the possibility that he had suffered a second stroke.

After a stroke in May 2022, he had to undergo nearly three hours of surgery and spent nine days in hospital.

When he returned to the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, with significant speech impairments, his health came under scrutiny in an increasingly tight race.

But he went on to comfortably defeat his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, in November’s election.

The victory handed Democrats a wafer-thin majority in the Senate, the upper chamber of Congress.


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