US Senator John Fetterman discharged from hospital after depression treatment

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U.S. Senator Fetterman checks into hospital for depression treatment
U.S. Senator John Fetterman leaves a classified briefing for U.S. Senators about the latest unknown objects shot down by the U.S. military, on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 14, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Senator John Fetterman has been discharged from hospital where he was treated for weeks for depression, his office said on Friday, adding he will return to the Senate mid-April.

Fetterman's depression is now in remission, his office said in a statement, citing a doctor.

The return of Fetterman, who flipped a Republican-held seat in last November's midterm elections, will be good news for Democrats, who hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate.

Fetterman had checked into a Washington-area hospital for treatment for clinical depression in mid-February. He had also suffered a near-fatal stroke months before his election win.

When Fetterman was admitted for clinical depression in mid-February, he had severe symptoms of depression with low energy and motivation, minimal speech, poor sleep, slowed thinking, slowed movement, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, but no suicidal ideation, the doctor cited in the statement issued by Fetterman's office said.

Over the preceding eight weeks, his symptoms worsened and Fetterman stopped eating and taking fluids, causing him to develop low blood pressure, the doctor, David Williamson, said.

During the course of his treatment, his condition improved as his sleep was restored and he began eating well, the doctor said, adding Fetterman was also identified with mild to moderate hearing loss and was fitted with hearing aids.

Known for his large tattooed frame, goatee and penchant for hoodies and shorts, Fetterman gained a national profile for his progressive positions. The former Pennsylvania lieutenant governor beat Republican celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz by a large margin in November's elections to replace former Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who retired.

Fetterman, who suffered a stroke last May and later acknowledged he had "almost died," has faced challenges adjusting to life in the Senate during his recovery.

Since the stroke, he has suffered lingering problems with his ability to speak and process the speech he hears.

During the course of Fetterman's depression treatment, his speech abilities also improved as he worked with speech-language specialists, his office said on Friday.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Jasper Ward in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler

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Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, who primarily covers US politics and national affairs in his current role. His past breaking news coverage has spanned across a range of topics like the Black Lives Matter movement; the US elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow up probes; the Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a religious dispute site in his native India.