Lloyd Austin Ends a Much Scrutinized Hospital Stay

Defense secretary is discharged from Walter Reed after 2 weeks, will work from home for now
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2024 11:59 AM CST
Lloyd Austin Is Out of the Hospital
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks on Nov. 22, 2023, at the Pentagon in Washington. The secrecy surrounding Austin's hospitalizations due to prostate cancer surgery set off a political firestorm, launched multiple reviews, and triggered calls for his ouster.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital Monday, after spending two weeks there to treat complications from surgery for prostate cancer he kept secret from senior Biden administration leaders and staff for weeks. He is expected to work from home as he recovers, reports the AP. Austin, 70, was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 22 and underwent surgery to treat the cancer, which was detected earlier in the month during a routine screening. He developed an infection a week later and was hospitalized Jan. 1 and admitted to intensive care. Doctors said he remained in the hospital due to ongoing leg pain resulting from the infection and so he could get physical therapy.

During Austin's time at Walter Reed, the US launched a series of military strikes on the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. Working from his hospital bed, Austin juggled calls with senior military leaders, including Gen. Erik Kurilla, head of US Central Command, and White House meetings to review, order, and ultimately watch the strikes unfold over secure video. It is still unclear when Austin will return to his office in the Pentagon or how his cancer treatment will affect his job, travel, and other public engagements going forward. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has been taking on some of his day-to-day duties as he recovers.

(More Lloyd Austin stories.)

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