Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman’s recent hospitalization for clinical depression hasn’t stopped the senator from cosponsoring legislation, a “very unusual” move that has surprised some in the medical profession.
Dr. Marc Siegel told Fox News Digital the 53-year-old senator — who suffered a debilitating stroke on the campaign trail last year — likely has impaired judgment and lost his “ability to think clearly” with the mental health diagnosis, which would complicate his efforts to bring bills forward with colleagues — a feat he apparently managed three times this week.
Siegel added that he was “very surprised” by the move and that it was “very unusual that somebody that’s being admitted for severe depression would be performing their job.”
“Mental illness and physical illness aren’t the same in terms of the level of impairment,” Siegel said. “So if you were to say to me, somebody had a heart attack, they’re still in the hospital, can they be a senator? You know, my answer would be, depends on how their heart is doing right now.”
The doctor added that the public does not yet know the severity of Fetterman’s depression or whether the Pennsylvania senator has responded to any of the treatment he has received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center since Feb. 16.
Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello did not respond to a request for comment. On Monday, he said the senator was “doing well” but would remain hospitalized for the next few weeks.
“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,” the communications director said in a tweet. “John is visiting with staff and family daily, and his staff are keeping him updated on Senate business and news.”
Calvello added that the recovery 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 suffered a stroke in May 2022 during his run for office against Republican candidate and celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, but pushed through to win election despite questions about his mental fitness and cognitive processing ability.
Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Fetterman, went after an NBC reporter who drew attention to the senator’s slowness of speech and difficulty responding to questions, attacking the journalist as “ableist.”
The Pennsylvania senator was also hospitalized for two days starting on Feb. 8 after feeling lightheaded during a Democratic Party retreat. A week later, he was hospitalized for depression.
If issues persist, Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-Pa.) could replace Fetterman via a special election in 2024 to finish out the senator’s six-year term.
Siegel also told Fox that Fetterman may have already responded to treatment and doctors may be “just keeping an eye on him for a few days.”
“If you broke your ankle, you know, nobody would think twice. Okay, he’s got surgery on his ankle and he’s recovering, but he’s performing from the bed,” Siegel said. “But mental illness, by definition, is an impairment of mood and judgment. So it would be highly, highly unlikely that somebody could do that, unless they’re just keeping them there to kind of keep them out of the way of the stress of daily living, but they feel that he’s up to the job.”
By: Ny Post