Feb 13, 2024 7:02 PM CST
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Tuesday, ending his second stay since surgery to treat prostate cancer, and he has resumed his full duties, the Pentagon said. Austin, 70, has had ongoing health issues since undergoing surgery in December. He was taken back to Walter Reed on Sunday for a bladder issue and admitted to intensive care for a second time. He underwent a non-surgical procedure under general anesthesia on Monday. On doctors' advice, Austin will work from home before returning to the Pentagon later this week, the AP reports. Austin is expected to host a virtual meeting Wednesday of about 50 countries who meet monthly to coordinate military aid for Ukraine.
Feb 12, 2024 1:00 AM CST
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized Sunday following symptoms pointing to an "emergent bladder issue," the Pentagon said. This time, all his superiors knew right way. In a statement, the Pentagon said Austin was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center around 2:20pm, per the AP. He "is retaining the functions and duties of his office," according to Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, who added that the deputy defense secretary has been notified and is prepared to assume Austin's duties "if required."
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was also notified, as well as the White House and some members of Congress. Ryder said Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems needed to perform his job. Austin had been scheduled to depart Tuesday for Brussels to hold a meeting of the Ukraine contact group, which he established in 2022 to coordinate military support for Kyiv after Russia's invasion. After that, Austin was scheduled to attend a regular meeting of NATO defense ministers. It was not immediately clear if this hospitalization would change those plans.
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Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December and underwent a procedure called a prostatectomy to treat it on Dec. 22. Over the next week, he developed complications and on Jan. 1, in extreme pain, he was taken to Walter Reed by ambulance where he was admitted to the intensive care unit. Austin remained at Walter Reed until Jan. 15. Austin did not tell President Biden, Congress, or his deputy secretary of defense of his cancer diagnosis or initial hospitalization for weeks. (He later apologized publicly for the lack of communication.)