Since Democrat John Fetterman beat Dr. Mehmet Oz for the Pennsylvania senate seat that was up for grabs, he has had one medical issue after another.Fetterman was suffering during the campaign, but votes came his way regardless.
Some are looking for Fetterman to step down from his job as a congressman, and simply recover, but that does not seem to be in the congressman’s plans. The former lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania seems determined to stay his course.
Initially, Fetterman was admitted to the hospital back on May 13, 2022, after suffering an ischemic stroke caused by a clot related to his irregular heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation.
He was released from the hospital on May 22, 2022. In a letter written in early June 2022, it was reported that Fetterman was in stable condition and would fully recover as long as he followed a healthy lifestyle and took his medications.
On February 8, 2023, Fetterman was hospitalized overnight after feeling lightheaded during a U.S. Senate retreat. However, his office reported that this hospitalization was unrelated to his stroke, and he was in good spirits and talking with his staff and family.
On February 16, 2023, Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed Hospital for clinical depression. He would undergo treatment and has since remained hospitalized, Trending Politics News reports.
It was later reported that Fetterman had trouble hearing as well. Due to his auditory processing challenges, Senator Fetterman depended largely on a tablet to transcribe spoken words for him.
The severity of his hearing difficulties is unpredictable, and they tend to exacerbate when he is in stressful or unfamiliar situations. The senator has likened the experience to an attempt to decipher the garbled voice of the teacher in the “Peanuts” comic strip, whose speech is incomprehensible.
“Post-stroke depression is very, very common. Estimates are somewhere up to a third of patients with stroke will have depression at some point after their stroke,” one doctor said during an interview.
His transition has been “extraordinarily challenging” due to ”strains of his recovery, which left him with a physical impairment and serious mental health challenges,” The Politician Insider reported.
So, Fetterman has dealt with numerous health issues over the last year after suffering a stroke, dealing with cognitive concerns such as hearing problems.
In February this year, Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed medical center to “receive treatment for clinical depression.” Fetterman has been in the facility since that time. Adam Jentleson, the Chief of Staff for Senator John Fetterman, gave an update on the Senator’s health.
On Monday, Jentleson gave an update on Twitter:
“Productive morning with Senator Fetterman at Walter Reed discussing the rail safety legislation, Farm Bill and other Senate business. John is well on his way to recovery and wanted me to say how grateful he is for all the well wishes. He’s laser focused on PA & will be back soon.”
Trending Politics News reports”
Fetterman expressed regret for ignoring his health after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2017. For five years, he did not see a doctor or continue his medications. However, his primary care physician provided a medical update in October 2022, stating that Fetterman had significantly improved communication skills and spoke intelligently during his examination. Although his stroke had left him with symptoms of an auditory processing disorder, Fetterman attended speech therapy, regular exercise, and took heart medication.
Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, left the country a couple of weeks ago to take the couple’s kids up to Canada.
It has been reported that Fetterman’s reasoning for the trip was too much media attention. However, she felt that she still wanted to share her trip with photos and a tweet to share to everyone.
While in his current hospital stay, Fetterman has cosponsored a rail safety bill with Sens. bob Casey (D., Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D. Ohio). J.D. Vance (R. Ohio), and others, the Inquirer noted.
His aide Jentleson says he is visiting with Fetterman most mornings for about an hour. Jentleson noted, “The legislative process doesn’t really require a senator’s physical presence. It requires their intellectual engagement, and he’s in a place where he’s able to offer that.”
Yet, some longtime Senate aides say that workarounds can only go so far. Matt Beynon, a Republican operative pointed out that networking is essential to make a bill become law.
“‘I’ve got something that’s really important to my state, can I talk to you about it?’ That matters, Beynon said. “Him not being there, it’s one less voice for something that he says he cares about.”
AP reported that Fetterman’s spokespeople have said that the Democrat is “on a path to recovery” but that he will be away from the Senate for several weeks.