Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) “will be back soon,” an aide said Monday, in releasing the first photos of the senator since he checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for clinical depression nearly three weeks ago.
In the photos, Fetterman and his chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, are seen seated together at a table in a bright hospital room, looking over some papers. Fetterman is wearing a Carhartt hoodie and shorts, an outfit he would have typically been spotted in before he entered the Senate.
“Productive morning with Senator Fetterman at Walter Reed discussing the rail safety legislation, Farm Bill and other Senate business,” Jentleson tweeted. “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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/143uAhoQRx
— Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) March 6, 2023
Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed on Feb. 15 to receive treatment for clinical depression. He has remained hospitalized since, with few concrete indications of when he would be able to return to the Senate.
“We don’t have a lot to update folks with since there’s no real news to report except that John is doing well, working with the wonderful doctors, and remains on a path to recovery,” Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello said in a statement last week. “He is visiting with staff and family daily, and his staff are keeping him updated on Senate business and news.”
Calvello said then that the senator’s team was “moving full speed ahead” and had last week opened a new office in Erie, Pa., with more expected in the coming weeks.
“We understand the intense interest in John’s status and especially appreciate the flood of well-wishes,” Calvello said. “However, as we have said this will be a weeks-long process and while we will be sure to keep folks updated as it progresses, this is all there is to give by way of an update.”
Fetterman, 53, had a stroke in May, days before he overwhelmingly won the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s Senate race. He spent primary election day in surgery having a defibrillator installed. His campaign later disclosed that Fetterman had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy years before and had not followed the recommended medical advice for his condition.
Last month, Fetterman was hospitalized at George Washington University Hospital for lightheadedness during a retreat for Democratic senators, Calvello said then. His doctors ruled out a second stroke.
He had just returned to Congress from that hospitalization when he was evaluated by the attending physician of Congress, Brian P. Monahan, who suggested inpatient care for depression that had become “severe in recent weeks,” Jentleson said in a statement at the time.
Fetterman’s stroke last year sidelined him from the campaign for about two months and left him with an auditory processing disorder that inhibited his ability to hear, especially when there is competing background noise. In mid-August, Fetterman resumed public campaign events, where he spoke openly about his health setback and recovery.
Colby Itkowitz contributed to this report.