By Kim Lyons | Pennsylvania Capital-Star
U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, a Democrat representing Pennsylvania, is back home in Braddock after being released from the hospital on Friday.
Fetterman had been receiving treatment for clinical depression at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after checking himself in on Feb. 15.
“I am so happy to be home. I’m excited to be the father and husband I want to be, and the senator Pennsylvania deserves. Pennsylvanians have always had my back, and I will always have theirs,” Fetterman said in a statement.
“I am extremely grateful to the incredible team at Walter Reed. The care they provided changed my life. I will have more to say about this soon, but for now I want everyone to know that depression is treatable, and treatment works,” the western Pennsylvania lawmaker continued.“This isn’t about politics — right now there are people who are suffering with depression in red counties and blue counties. If you need help, please get help.”
Fetterman sent an email to his constituents and supporters, thanking them for standing by him.
“I left Walter Reed this morning + I wanted to take a moment to tell you how grateful I am for all of your support. I never could have gotten here without all of you. Because of you and your support, I’m excited to get back to work to keep fighting like hell as your US Senator,” he wrote.
Dr. David Wiliamson, Neuropsychiatry Chief and Medical Director at Walter Reed, said Fetterman’s depression is now in remission, according to a statement from Fetterman’s office.
Williamson said in his discharge briefing that when he checked in to Walter Reed, 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 ideation.
”Fetterman suffered a stroke in May 2022, and the team at Walter Reed saw no signs of a new stroke in February, Wiliamson wrote, confirming an earlier diagnosis.
Over the weeks he was in the hospital receiving treatment, according to Williamson, “Fetterman’s mood steadily improved. Sleep was restored, he ate well and hydrated, and he evidenced better mood, brighter affect and improved motivation, self-attitude, and engagement with others. His treatment gradually produced remission of his depression.”
Williamson added that the senator “expressed a firm commitment to treatment over the long term.”
Following the May stroke, Fetterman continued to have auditory processing issues. His hearing was evaluated at Walter Reed, and he was fitted with hearing aids, and worked with speech-language specialists.
“With improvement in his depression, improvement in the patient’s speech abilities was noticeable and we believe that significant continued improvement is likely with continued outpatient rehabilitation,” Williamson wrote, and Fetterman was determined to be ready to return to his family, pursue outpatient treatment, and resume work.
The Senate is in recess for the next two weeks. And Fetterman said he plans to spend time with his family and constituents, and return to Washington, D.C. when the Senate is back in session on April 17.
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