Sen. John Fetterman was released from the hospital. He'll return to the Senate Monday

Julia Terruso
The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)

Sen. John Fetterman was released from the hospital late Friday afternoon after checking himself in on Wednesday with lightheadedness. Fetterman's office said that doctors ruled out another stroke and that he was expected to return to the Senate when the chamber is back in session on Monday.

"A few minutes ago, Sen. John Fetterman was discharged from the George Washington University Hospital," spokesperson Joe Calvello said. "In addition to the CT, CTA, and MRI tests ruling out a stroke, his EEG test results came back normal, with no evidence of seizures. John is looking forward to spending some time with his family and returning to the Senate on Monday."

Fetterman, a York County native and graduate of Central York High School, suffered a stroke less than a year ago that he said almost killed him. He went to the hospital this week after feeling unwell at an all-day Democratic retreat. Calvello said Wednesday night that Fetterman was "in good spirits and talking with his staff and family."

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Lt. Gov. John Fetterman campaigns for U.S. Senate at Holy Hound Taproom in York City, Thursday, May 12, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Fetterman spent two days in the hospital, missing a vote Thursday on President Joe Biden's first judicial nomination of 2023 (the nominee, DeAndrea Benjamin, was confirmed 53-44).

Any extended absence for Fetterman, 53, would leave Democrats with a tenuous majority, especially after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ind., Ariz.) left the party. Even with her vote on most issues, Democrats have only a 51-49 edge. Given the Republican majority in the House, no major legislation is expected, but any absence could affect Senate Democrats' ability to approve Biden's nominations.

Fetterman's return to Senate work is expected to be in time for its next scheduled vote, which is Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Fetterman suffered a stroke May 13, three days before the Democratic primary. He had a procedure to implant a pacemaker and defibrillator in his chest and remained in the race but largely off the trail for months as he recovered. His opponent, Republican Mehmet Oz, made Fetterman's health a major part of his campaign, accusing Fetterman, who was slow to release details about his stroke, of not being transparent enough about his health and questioning his fitness to serve.

Fetterman insisted throughout the campaign that he was on the road to a full recovery. A statement released by his primary care doctor in October said Fetterman was continuing to recover well from the stroke and had no work restrictions.

Since his inauguration in January, Fetterman has kept the full schedule of a freshman senator, participating in his first Senate hearings, flying on Air Force One to Philadelphia for an appearance with Biden last week, and attending the State of the Union on Tuesday. In an Inquirer interview last month, his wife, Gisele, said her husband's only lingering issue from the stroke was auditory processing challenges.

Fetterman's impaired speaking ability causes him to repeat words and sometimes use them in the wrong order. This issue was not the result of any decline in cognitive skills, according to his campaign. He underwent months of rehabilitation exercises to improve his speaking ability, and has relied on closed-captioning devices to help him communicate in the Senate.

Gisele Fetterman posted a photo on Instagram Thursday of her and the couple's three children thanking people for their support.

"Thank you to everyone who has sent good wishes our way during this hectic time," she wrote. "We are happy to share that there are no signs of a stroke. ... Also grateful I get to do the fun days and the really hard days with this crew right here."

— Inquirer staff writer Jonathan Tamari contributed to this article.