OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 2:58 PM – Thursday, March 30, 2023
Senator John Fetterman is planning on returning to the Senate during the week of April 17th, after more than a month of inpatient rehabilitation for clinical depression, according to two unnamed sources with firsthand knowledge.
In February, the Pennsylvania Democrat started receiving care at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Senate Democrats, who hold a narrow majority and have struggled to deal with absences over the past month, will be relieved to see him back in the Senate.
Though the precise time of John Fetterman’s (D-PA.) discharge from the hospital is still unknown, a close friend of his verified that after the upcoming two-week April recess, he will resume his Senate duties.
Besides Fetterman, other senators have also missed Senate sessions. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have both missed considerable amounts of time. After undergoing physical rehabilitation for a concussion and a slight rib fracture, McConnell has now been released.
Nonetheless, Fetterman’s circumstances have been distinct. The towering Senate freshman has been candid about his struggles with mental health and the need for support.
In May, during Pennsylvania’s Senate primary, Fetterman also experienced a sudden stroke. He was forced to take time off from the campaign trail while he recovered.
According to medical professionals, depression is typical among stroke survivors.
“When the brain is injured, the survivor may not be able to feel positive emotions. Depression can also be a normal psychological reaction to the losses from a stroke,” according to the American Stroke Association.
Fetterman has employed transcription technology to chat with colleagues and handle other Senate dealings since being sworn in.
Mehmet Oz, or “Dr. Oz,” as some may know him from television appearances, was Fetterman’s Republican opponent.
Oz blasted him for not being more forthcoming about his health issues and turned it into a campaign issue. In November, Fetterman defeated Oz by a margin of almost 5%.
Adam Jentleson, the chief of staff for Fetterman, posted a tweet on March 6th saying that Fetterman is “laser focused on PA & will be back soon” and that Fetterman is “fully on his road to recovery.”
According to Fetterman’s assistants, he has been frequently attending staff and family meetings at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center he checked in to. During his treatment, he also agreed to a bipartisan rail safety bill.
“Communities like Darlington Township and East Palestine are too often forgotten and overlooked by leaders in Washington and executives at big companies like Norfolk Southern who only care about making their millions,” Fetterman said, referring to the bill.
The new legislation makes mechanics evaluate rail carriages to attest to their safety and requires railroads to provide warning equipment to railroad watchmen.