Fetterman returns home to Pennsylvania after hospital discharge
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on Friday returned to his home in Braddock, Penn., after being discharged from a hospital in Washington where he was treated for depression.
Driving the news: The first-term senator said in a statement that he will be back in the Senate when his colleagues return from recess on April 17.
What they’re saying: Fetterman said he was "extremely grateful to the incredible team" at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
- "The care they provided changed my life," he said in the statement.
- "I will have more to say about this soon, but for now I want everyone to know that depression is treatable, and treatment works," he added.
In a CBS News interview recorded during his stay, Fetterman said that despite winning his Senate race in November, his depression convinced him that he "actually lost," according to a partial transcript released Friday.
- "You just won the biggest, you know, race in […] the country," he told CBS anchor Jane Pauley. "But depression can absolutely convince you that you actually lost. And that’s exactly what happened."
- Fetterman said it was "the start of […] a downward spiral."
Details: Fetterman had "severe symptoms of depression" when he was admitted in February, according to the lead doctor on the senator's treatment team.
- In a discharge briefing provided by the senator's office, Dr. David Williamson — the neuropsychiatry chief and medical director at Walter Reed — said Fetterman exhibited other symptoms, including low energy and motivation, minimal speech, and slowed thinking.
- He also experienced "feelings of guilt and worthlessness, but no suicidal ideation," Williamson said, per Fetterman's office.
- Those symptoms had "progressively worsened over the preceding 8 weeks and Fetterman had stopped eating and taking fluids, causing him to develop low blood pressure," which Williamson said could have affected the senator's brain circulation.
The big picture: Fetterman’s mood "steadily improved" after he began treatment, which included reading a book on depression, Williamson said, adding that Fetterman "expressed a firm commitment to treatment over the long term."
- "We believe that significant continued improvement is likely with continued outpatient rehabilitation," Williamson wrote. "His depression, now resolved, may have been a barrier to engagement."
Of note: Fetterman’s weeks-long hospital stay was one of several recent prolonged absences from the Senate.
- Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) worked from home this week after completing physical therapy for injuries sustained during a fall at a fundraising dinner earlier this month.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been recovering at home in California since being hospitalized for shingles in early March.