Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who is battling the lingering effects of a stroke, has checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to “receive treatment for clinical depression.”
It is the latest health-related setback for Mr. Fetterman since he suffered a stroke last May that nearly killed him, pulling him off the campaign trail and raising questions about his ability to perform the duties of a senator.
Fetterman Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson said Thursday Mr. Fetterman arrived at the hospital Wednesday night. He said Mr. Fetterman “has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks.”
Mr. Jentleson said the attending physician of the Congress evaluated Mr. Fetterman, a Democrat, earlier this week and “recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed.”
“John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis,” he 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.”
Mr. Fetterman’s first month in office has been a challenge.
The bald, tattooed, 6-foot-8-inch freshman senator is trying to strike the right balance between carrying out his job without jeopardizing his health after nearly dying from his stroke last year.
Mr. Fetterman was hospitalized last week after feeling lightheaded during a Senate Democratic retreat in Washington.
Republicans warned ahead of the November election it was clear Mr. Fetterman had not fully recovered from the stroke. They said he was unprepared to serve the people of Pennsylvania and questioned whether his team was being upfront about the severity of the stroke and its lingering effects.
Looking to ease concerns, Mr. Fetterman released a letter from his primary care physician, Dr. Clifford Chen, that said he was fit to serve.
“Overall, Lt. Gov. Fetterman is well and shows a strong commitment to maintaining good fitness and health practices,” Dr. Chen said last year. “He has no work restrictions and can work full duty in public office.”
Mr. Fetterman went on to deliver a shaky debate performance two weeks before the election. He repeated lines while struggling to give coherent responses, verbalize his thoughts and complete his sentences.
Mr. Fetterman’s allies blamed the rockier moments on the “closed captioning process” that debate organizers relied on to help him follow along with the questions and the conversation.
Mr. Fetterman, meanwhile, assured voters the stroke “may have knocked me down, but I keep getting back up.”
Voters gave him the benefit of the doubt, tapping him for the job over his Trump-backed rival, Republican Mehmet Oz.
The Fetterman victory proved to be instrumental in keeping Democrats in control of the Senate, and even more, after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced she was switching her party affiliation from Democrat to independent after the election. » …