He's Baaaaack: Fetterman Sets Senate Return Date

Pennsylvania senator has spent two months in the hospital while being treated for clinical depression

Sen. John Fetterman (Getty Images)
March 29, 2023

Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) plans to return to work on April 17 after a two-month stay at Walter Reed National Hospital for treatment for severe clinical depression.

Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed on Feb. 16 after his lifelong battle with depression had taken a turn for the worse. Earlier that month, the Pennsylvania progressive had entered a hospital for lightheadedness. Fetterman suffered a near-fatal stroke on the campaign trail last May.

While Democrats will welcome Fetterman’s return to the upper chamber, his health struggles could raise concerns about his ability to handle his workload going forward. Fetterman’s latest hospital stay raised questions about his path to recovery following his stroke. Fetterman, his wife, and his aides have repeatedly downplayed concerns about his health.

Fetterman’s wife Gisele cited a doctor’s assessment of her husband when asked whether she ever wanted him to quit his Senate campaign.

"No, I mean I waited to see what the doctors thought," Gisele Fetterman said. "The doctors all said he would make a full recovery and that he’s more in shape to do this."

Fetterman released a note from his personal doctor—also a campaign donor—that said he "has no work restrictions and can work full duty in public office."

Fetterman’s aides also gave an optimistic assessment of his current health problems. His office said after he checked in to Walter Reed that he would likely be in the facility for "a few weeks."

Fetterman’s true health status came to light after his initial treatment for lightheadedness. The New York Times reported that Fetterman faced "serious mental health challenges" and had grown concerned that he sustained permanent damage from the stroke because he returned too quickly to the campaign trail.