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John Fetterman is Back Home … After 6 Weeks in a Mental Facility

John Fetterman is Back Home … After 6 Weeks in a Mental Facility

You have not heard much about Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman since he voluntarily admitted himself to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for mental illness and chronic depression at the recommendation of his doctors. 

He has now returned home, and we still do not know much about what kept him in mental treatment for six weeks.  We can assume, however, that it had to be rather serious.

Six weeks is a long time to be in a mental facility for less serious issues.

There have been reports that prior to his hospitalization, Fetterman was not eating sufficiently – and was suffering from severe depression — and had at least ideations of suicide.  Whether he actually acted on those thoughts is unknown since – to my knowledge – he has never been asked that question.

Fetterman suffered a debilitating stroke on May 13, 2022.  The severity of that stroke was concealed from the voters during the campaign, which issued optimistic reports of his recovery.  They predicted a full recovery in the near future – which turned out to be knowingly untrue.  

During the campaign, Fetterman demonstrated ongoing cognitive problems.  He had difficulty following conversations or comprehending oral questions.  In interviews and in the only debate to which he would agree, Fetterman needed questions in text form on computer monitors.  Even with those aids, he often stumbled and drifted in his oral comments.

Fetterman continued to need a technical aid to follow and participate in floor discussions in the Senate – something he avoided when possible.

Now that he is out, do the people of Pennsylvania have a legitimate interest — and right — to be more fully informed of the reasons for his extended hospitalization – and his ability to effectively perform his duties in the Senate?  

Should the media be more inquisitive?  It is arguable that the press failed to honestly and fully inform the public regarding the effects of the stroke – essentially covering up the debilities for seemingly political reasons.

Fetterman can be commended for addressing his mental and emotional issues in a forthright manner.  However, he owes it to the people – especially the folks in Pennsylvania – to issue a full and honest report on the reasons for his hospitalization … the treatment he received at Walter Reed … and an honest assessment of his current condition, disabilities, and limitations, both physically and mentally.  

What are his prospects in the future?  What is the possibility of a relapse?  That is a fair question since Fetterman’s political aides have already reported that he suffered periodic bouts of depression throughout his life.  

Before his planned return to the Senate on April 17th, Fetterman should hold a press conference to issue a report on his current condition and debilities – and to respond to any and all questions from the media. Without a full explanation of his condition – and assurance to the public of his ability to fulfill his duties as a United States senator — there will be a shadow over his competency.

There is no reason to hide his condition since any significant debilities will be obvious over time.

We can all wish Fetterman a full recovery, but that does not mean that a full disclosure is not necessary.  Quite the contrary

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

15 Comments

  1. Pure american

    Besides a JackAss being the symbol of the wacky “dem” party, they have another that suits biden’s administration to a “T”!!! fetterman, face of the dems!!

  2. Leonard C Collings

    6 weeks is a huge hospital stay for a mental condition.

    • BWH

      I’m wondering if he took so long because he was in a speech rehabilitation program. His interview, if it was him, with NBC was a dramatic contrast to him during the campaign. He still needed props but you could almost understand him. But I really wonder also if he could be investigated for lying during the campaign, like Santos, because he said he would be fine by the time he was sworn in when he knew he wouldn’t be ok.

  3. vinko

    use of any electronics aids on the senate floor is against the rules, if he can’t perform as expected he needs to resign

    • Tom

      Can you cite that rule please! I am interested in knowing since any employer must allow suitable disability aides within reason according to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

      • frank stetson

        Pretty old, 2018,, but…. while personal devices are not allowed, I am pretty sure “service-level” devices are. Otherwise, those teleprompters must go!! :>)

          • Tom

            Thanks Frank. I found another article regarding what the Senate is doing. They are trying to bring closed caption technology to all members of the Senate. Fetterman is using closed caption tech, iPad that does not use house wifi and is direct to people typing closed caption to him, etc. This is what I expected to see, and the Senate seems to be fine with it.

            As far as Fetterman goes, here is what one fellow Senator said,

            One of his former desk neighbors in the Senate told Time that it has been easy conversing with the freshman Democrat.

            “He’s got his iPad and he just reads speech-to-text,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said. “He’s been very engaged.”

            I would expect he will be engaged when he returns. I would expect PA voters will be fine with this since they have always been leaders in helping and accommodating Americans with disabilities.

          • Tom

            Also, assistive technology is viewed a bit differently than personal technology thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The article I was referring to is at “https://nypost.com/2023/02/02/john-fetterman-using-assistive-technology-in-senate-as-he-recovers-from-stroke/”.

            In Fetterman’s case, I doubt that the brain damage got any worse, the issue is post stroke depression and mood because some of the centers of the brain responsible to generate the chemicals needed for smooth mood may have been damaged by the stroke. This, according to the medical folks, is not uncommon.

  4. Tom

    Good topic Larry. Yes I think we can all agree on wishing him well.

    This topic can get a bit thorny but interesting. You said, “Now that he is out, do the people of Pennsylvania have a legitimate interest — and right — to be more fully informed of the reasons for his extended hospitalization – and his ability to effectively perform his duties in the Senate? “.
    We must bear in mind a piece of truth that your article did not state, and that is that the PA voters did know about his stroke in May of 2022, and they did get to see performance issues at the debate, yet they still voted for him over Dr. Oz whom was not from PA, and was GOP/Trump backed. Oz made a big deal over his health for the last two to three weeks before the election, yet PA still voted for Fetterman by quite a margin, around 4.9% of the PA electorate. It was not even close! As I am originally from PA, I watched this election with great interest.

    I believe you will find that even US Senators are covered by what is called HIPAA laws with regard to how much personal health information can be released. Let’s just say there are quite a number of reasons why a person would want to protect their health information. And a US Senator has that same right of protection under HIPAA as his electorate. Pennsylvanians understand this and will honor it. So I do not agree with PA voters having a “right” regarding the reasons for his extended stay. It has been already announced as stoke related depression. I do not think they need the tawdry details. I do believe since we have a representative form of government, that they have a “right” to an accurate assessment and analysis with regard to how effective he can be as a Senator in representing PA interests when he has suffered such a medically adverse event. And part of that analysis should be how often he may be debilitated in the future and for how long.

    Now I think the way the system works is that a temporary fill-in can be appointed by a list from the Senator’s party, or depending on his condition, maybe a staffer can sit in and gather the information the Senator needs to make his decisions. In the event of a death, the state governor will select a replacement, which is almost always from their own party. (please correct me if I am wrong about any of these statements)

    So it really boils down to one thing; Can John Fetterman adequately fulfill the duties of his office with or without assistive personnel and/or devices. If the answer is yes, than great, congratulations John. And according to the Americans with Disabilities Act he must be given the chance to do so. If the assessment says possibly not able, or definitely not able, then Mr. Fetterman needs to at minimum select a suitable replacement and recommend that selection to the PA Governor. In either case, the fidelity must be to the best voter representation, not the disability, and Mr. Fetterman should be given the chance to lead the way on this..

    The bigger more important issue is the possibility of appointed senators tipping the partisan balance, or at least giving an electoral advantage to one party or the other, is brought into sharper relief when one considers that this is the oldest Senate in American history. The process of picking a replacement US Senator for PA will depend on PA’s rules which may state the Governor (who is currently a Dem) can do the selecting, or it may say the PA House (currently GOP) gives the PA Governor a list he or she must choose from. The process is not as uniform as it could be within the 50 states, (see “https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/05/03/how-do-states-fill-vacancies-in-the-u-s-senate-it-depends-on-the-state/”) and this should be worked on since we have such an aging US Senate.

    A side issue is that if a replacement must be picked for Mr. Fetterman, this will effect the balance within the Senate since Mr. Fetterman’s seat runs through 2028 and the next PA gubernatorial election will be in 2026. So it the governorship flips to GOP, the replacement could be replaced.

  5. frank stetson

    I think Larry should leave this up to the good people of Pennsylvania and he can worry about Ron’s mental health as well as the rest of the Floridian zoo at the Federal level.

    I tire of these state’s righters avoiding state’s rights whenever it suits their purpose. Seems hypocritical for him to blow off the Santos problems as up to the voters in that district, but Fetterman is a Federal case that the entire nation suddenly needs to be involved with. Pick. or else continue being a hypocrite when it spins in the favor of Republicans.

    Don’t respond Larry, I don’t like your responses so just don’t.

    • Tom

      I agree, it is an issue for PA, so it should stay in PA. Being born and raised in PA for 25 years, they are a hard working practical blue collar class of people that are very practical. They will probably just want to know if he can do the job. If he and his doctors say yes, it will be a closed issue.

      Yes it is amazing how that Santos issue died but I think is most serious. And Mitch McConnell fell, hurt is arm and damaged his head. I did not see much concern about the fact that he may have lost his step and stumbled to the ground because he has late onset dementia which can cause loss of walking coordination. And nobody seemed concerned about the narcissism and psychopathy of POTUS Trump when he was in office. We never knew he was throwing perfectly good burgers against the wall!!! While other people struggle to buy food to eat!

  6. Mike f

    Larry, Hope the second day of Passover is more pleasant than the first, you weren’t your normal jovial self yesterday (jk, nobody would ever refer to you as jovial, but if I had as many setbacks in life as you have had, it would probably affect my personality too) Great day for you to bring up transparency for politicians! Should apply to justices of the court too, so we can better understand how they rule and function. Of course conservatives are going to say that receiving literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts over many years and not reporting them is just a minor detail…. Yes, the democrats could have (and should have) nominated someone else for their senate candidate, however the last thing we needed in the senate was another fake doctor who ran on the platform of ‘crudités for all’, and a carpetbagger at that…

    • Tom

      Mikef, good point on the justices. Now we find out Thomas has been taking expensive trips compliments of GOP donors, hmmm, I wonder how that effected justice decisions in the past two decades. And his wife being an activist. Hmmmm.

      Hey, Oz is a real medical doctor if that is the doctor you meant in your post. Oz went on to graduate with an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania. He then earned a Medical Degree (MD) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Today, Dr. Oz is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon.

      Note: University of Pennsylvania is not Penn State. U of P is in Philadelphia and is a leading education and training hospital. Very good place if you have a medical issue!!!

      • Mike f

        Tom, while Oz does have a degree (as does rand Paul) I would not refer to either as ‘real’ doctors. Oz plays one on TV, and if you look at the quacky treatments he is constantly pushing, you will realize that he has long since ceased to be a ‘real’ doctor…

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