Fetterman Checks Into Hospital For Depression

By Terrance Turner

Feb. 16, 2023

Sen. John Fetterman leaves a briefing on Feb. 14. Fetterman has checked into a hospital seeking treatment for depression. Photo from the AP.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania) has checked into a hospital to seek treatment for clinical depression, his office says.

Fetterman checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, last night. “While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” his chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement.

“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. After examining John, the doctors at Walter Reed told us that John is getting the care he needs, and will soon be back to himself,” Jentleson said.


This is only the latest health setback for Fetterman, who spent two days at George Washington University Hospital last week. (He felt lightheaded.) The Associated Press reports that tests found no new evidence of seizures or another stroke.

Fetterman suffered a stroke last May while campaigning for US Senate. The American Stroke Association says depression is common for stroke patients and that it’s often caused by biochemical changes in the brain. Significantly, a study by the National Institute of Health found that 19% of stroke victims suffer from post-stroke depression.


Fetterman suffered a stroke on May 13, while on the campaign trail. It was ischemic.

Image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an a-Fib rhythm for too long,” Fetterman said in June. Atrial fibrillation, known as a-Fib, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia, according to the CDC. In aFib, the normal beating in the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) is irregular. So blood doesn’t flow as well to the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart). The result is an irregular heartbeat.

From the CDC.


Fetterman had surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator to manage both a-Fib and cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle). He spent much of the summer off the trail, recovering. But in June, he opened up about his experience. He said he regretted not taking better care of himself.

“I should have taken my health more seriously,” Fetterman said on June 3 in a statement released by his campaign. “The stroke I suffered on May 13 didn’t come out of nowhere. Like so many others, and so many men in particular, I avoided going to the doctor, even though I knew I didn’t feel well.”

“As a result, I almost died.” 


Fetterman was diagnosed with irregular heartbeat nearly six years ago. “Back in 2017, I had swollen feet and went to the hospital to get checked out. That’s when I learned I had a heart condition. Then, I didn’t follow up. I thought losing weight and exercising would be enough. Of course it wasn’t,” Fetterman said. “It’s not something I’m proud of, but it is something I hope that others can learn from. So please: listen to your body, and be aware of the signs. Because ignoring them — and avoiding the doctor because you might not like what they have to tell you — could cost you your life,” he said.

“I want to emphasize that this was completely preventable,” Fetterman said, noting that his cardiologist said that if he had continued taking blood thinners, “I never would have had a stroke.”

Cardiologist Dr. Ramesh Chandra diagnosed Fetterman with irregular heartbeat back in 2017. “I had prescribed medications along with improved diet and exercise and asked him to follow up again in the following months,” Dr. Chandra wrote. “Instead, I did not see him again until yesterday [June 2]. John did not go to any doctor for 5 years and did not continue taking his medications.”

“I didn’t do what the doctor told me,” Fetterman admitted. “But I won’t make that mistake again…Taking care of others is important, but you must include yourself in there too.”

This story will be updated.

 Save as PDF

Leave a Reply