Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday morning, and is back home in Braddock. He’ll return to Washington D.C. when the Senate reconvenes in mid-April.
“I am extremely grateful to the incredible team at Walter Reed,” Fetterman said in a statement. “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.”
In a discharge briefing, Dr. David Williamson, Neuropsychiatry Chief and Medical Director, said that when Fetterman was voluntarily admitted, he displayed “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.” Williamson added that he’d stopped eating and drinking.
He said that Fetterman, who suffered a stroke on the campaign trail last year, was fitted with hearing aids and had noticeable improvements in his speech abilities.
“His depression, now resolved, may have been a barrier to engagement,” Williamson noted.
He added that Fetterman’s mood and health improved significantly during treatment, and that he read a book — Dr. Raymond De Paulo’s “Understanding Depression” — and asked many “insightful questions.”
Many figures on the right mocked Fetterman after he was admitted to the hospital and circulated conspiracy theories about his fitness to serve. His wife, Gisele Fetterman, said she received “vicious attacks” after the public learned of Fetterman’s diagnosis and hospital stay.
His diagnosis prompted other lawmakers, including Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), to recall their own experiences with depression.
Fetterman won his Senate seat in the 2022 cycle, defeating Mehmet Oz in one of the most closely watched races of the cycle.