Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman to leave hospital ‘soon’

John Fetterman is expected to return to office soon after spending the last five-plus weeks in a hospital receiving treatment for mental depression, a spokesperson has said, though the staffer stopped short of offering an exact timeline.

“John will be out soon. Over a week but soon,” Joe Calvello, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania senator, told the Philadelphia Inquirer in an article published on Friday. Saying that the team caring for Fetterman at Washington DC’s Walter Reed hospital was “amazing”, Calvello added: “Recovery is going really well.”

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The Inquirer’s report noted that a hospital stay of more than five weeks is a relatively long time to be receiving inpatient care for depression. But, the Inquirer report added, a Fetterman aide said the lengthy stay was “about John getting the care he needs and not rushing this”.

“Six weeks is a grain of sand in [the] six-year term” to which Fetterman was elected, the aide said, according to the Inquirer. “He’s doing what he needs to do.”

A CNN journalist had reported being told earlier in March by a source close to Fetterman that the longer hospital stay resulted from doctors taking extra care to get the senator’s “medication balance exactly right”.

A rising star among Democrats, Fetterman checked into Reed to be treated for clinical depression on 15 February 2023. That stay started a week after he was hospitalized for feeling light-headed. He had also suffered a stroke while campaigning last year.

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The 53-year-old former mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and ex-state lieutenant governor in November flipped a Republican-held Senate seat by defeating celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz. Fetterman’s victory over his opponent, who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, gave the Democrats control of the Senate, 51 seats to 49.

Republicans had sought to use Fetterman’s series of health battles as evidence that he was not fit to take office. But others hailed Fetterman’s choice to disclose that he had sought treatment for depression, saying it could encourage people who need help but have been reluctant to get it.

Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, published a note on Twitter on 10 March which thanked “everyone who’s shared their own struggles with us in the past few weeks”.

Gisele Barreto Fetterman’s tweet also contained a picture of her, her husband and their children visiting in the hospital.

“We can do hard things when we do them together,” the tweet said. Saying she was proud of her husband and their children, her tweet concluded: “It gets better.”

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