The Lead

Pa. Sen. Fetterman hospitalized, seeking treatment for depression

By: - February 16, 2023 2:50 pm

Then-Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman addresses supporters during an event in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, 10/27/22 (Capital-Star photo by Ethan Dodd).

(*This story was updated at 3 p.m, on Thursday, 2/16/23 to include comment from Gisele Barreto Fetterman.)

PITTSBURGH — U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., has checked himself in to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to receive treatment for clinical depression, according to a statement from his chief of staff Adam Jentleson.

 “While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” Jentleson said. “On Monday, John was evaluated by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress. Yesterday, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed. John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis.” 

Jentleson added that after examining Fetterman, the doctors said he is “getting the care he needs, and will soon be back to himself.” 

Fetterman spent two nights at George Washington University Hospital in D.C. last week, after feeling lightheaded at a Democratic retreat. Tests showed no sign of a stroke or seizures, and the senator returned to work on Monday. 

Fetterman, 53, suffered a stroke in May 2022, just days before Pennsylvania’s primary election. He continues to have auditory processing issues since the stroke, and uses assistive technology to help him communicate.

In an Instagram post, Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman said that after what her husband has “been through in the past year, there’s probably no one who wanted to talk about his own health less than John. I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs.

“This is a difficult time for our family, so please respect our privacy. For us, the kids come first,” Gisele Fetterman continued. “Take care of yourselves. Hold your loved ones close, you are not alone.

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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications. Follow her on Threads @social_kimly