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Tipsheet

John Fetterman's Hospital Stay Got Extended Again

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

We should have expected this from the initial Sen. John Fetterman’s health (D-PA) development. The Pennsylvania Democrat won’t be returning to work this week. On March 14, it was reported that his month-long hospital stay for clinical depression was extended by two weeks, with doctors saying they were still working on the right balance of medications for Mr. Fetterman. The senator hasn’t been to work for weeks, and that’s after the upper chamber made multiple accommodations regarding communications that would allow Mr. Fetterman to execute his duties as a sitting senator. That’s moot if you cannot comprehend what’s being said. 

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Before this recent hospital stay, Fetterman was rushed to the hospital during his party’s winter retreat, followed by stories about how he’s unable to comprehend what others are saying to him; everyone sounds like the adults from the Peanuts cartoons. With the election over, it’s become clear that Fetterman, who suffered a life-threatening stroke during the 2022 Democratic primaries, cannot do the job. Instead of dropping out, Fetterman pushed on, placing his long-term health at risk. The grind of a statewide campaign has led to many in his inner circle admitting that the senator could have permanent brain damage. 

So, we’re at the two-week mark right now, given the March 14 extension. And guess what: he’s not getting out this week. We can expect Mr. Fetterman to return to work sometime in mid-April. April 17 is the exact date, but who knows if that will be subject to change (via Politico): 

Sen. John Fetterman plans to return to the Senate the week of April 17 after more than a month of inpatient treatment for depression, according to two people with direct knowledge of his plan. 

The Pennsylvania Democrat began receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in mid-February. His return will be welcome news for Senate Democrats, who have a slim majority and have struggled to deal with absences over the last month.

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NBC News added that his office staff described him as “in the zone”:

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., will return to the Senate during the week of April 17 after about two months of treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for depression, his office tells NBC News.

Fetterman's chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, and Communications Director Joe Calvello have been visiting him at Walter Reed daily this week, Calvello told NBC, saying “he’s in the zone” and “excited to get back to the Senate.” The Pennsylvania senator has been working from Walter Reed since checking in for treatment in mid-February, with staff citing challenges after a stroke. 

The announcement comes as Fetterman introduces a new bill Wednesday focused on bolstering railway safety regulations in the aftermath of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. 

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For a man who said that “the [Philadelphia] Eagles are better than the Eagles,” I doubt he’s in the zone, or could sign off on the transportation safety bill that he supposedly signed off on in the aftermath of the toxic train crash in East Palestine.

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