Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) remains hospitalized to receive treatment for clinical depression, and despite intermittent but vague assurances from staffers that he will be released "soon," his hospitalization has repeatedly been extended, Townhall reported.
The most recent reason given for the extended hospital stay is that doctors are still trying to find the right balance for his medications, but that excuse was given nearly two weeks ago and legitimate questions are mounting about how much longer Pennsylvania's new Democratic senator will remain out of action.
Fetterman is reportedly on a number of prescribed medications as a result of the near-fatal stroke he suffered in May 2022, just two months after which he was rushed back out on the campaign trail even as it was obvious to everyone that he had not fully recovered from that health incident.
It was on Feb. 16 that Sen. Fetterman was checked into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for clinical depression just days after he was briefly hospitalized for feeling "lightheaded" and dizzy at a Democratic Party event.
Politico reported on Feb. 18 that both Fetterman's office, as well as Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), insisted that the senator was fine and that there were no plans for him to resign or be replaced as it was expected that he would return to his duties in the Senate in just a few weeks time.
At that time, the senator's chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, downplayed the absence from the legislative body and said, "In Senate time, which is a bit like geologic time, John’s time away will be the blink of an eye."
Fast-forward more than two weeks to March 6, when CBS News reported that Jentleson said in an update on his boss that Sen. Fetterman "will be back soon."
The top staffer for the senator shared pictures of them discussing some legislation under consideration, and further stated that Fetterman was "well on his way to recovery" and "laser-focused" on fulfilling his duties on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania.
Again, though, no concrete date was set for his expected return to the Senate, and the New York Post reported nearly two weeks later on March 14 about how Fetterman's hospitalization had just been extended for at least two more weeks.
According to a pair of tweets from CNN congressional reporter Manu Raju at that time, Fetterman's doctor predicted that the senator would ultimately be "as good or better than his best days post-stroke" when he was eventually released. The reporter further asserted that the reason for the two-week extension was so that doctors would have more time to get Fetterman's "medication balance exactly right."
That two-week extension in mid-March would have Sen. Fetterman being released from the hospital this week, Townhall noted, but that now seems unlikely following a report from The Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday, in which spokesman Joe Calvello said, "John will be out soon," and added, "Over a week but soon. Recovery is going really well. We have an amazing team at Walter Reed."
"It’s about John getting the care he needs and not rushing this," an unnamed senior aide told the outlet. "Six weeks is a grain of sand in a six-year term. He’s doing what he needs to do."
The repeatedly extended length of Fetterman's hospitalization has raised more questions, though, particularly in light of the fact that the average hospitalization length for clinical depression is just six days, not six weeks, to say nothing of how his lengthy absence from the Senate, during which he has missed dozens of votes on legislation and nominee confirmations, is doing a disservice to his constituents back home in Pennsylvania.
However, the Inquirer noted that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is, at least publicly, not seeking to rush Fetterman's return, and said during a news conference last week, "We want to give him the space to recuperate. He needs it. It’s fair, it’s right. There are other people in the Senate who have taken their time to recuperate, but I’m confident he’s going to come back and be an outstanding and fine senator."