NATIONAL NEWS

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released from hospital and expected to return to Pentagon ‘later this week’

Feb 13, 2024, 4:47 PM | Updated: 5:32 pm

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from hospital on Tuesday, the Pentagon announced. (Andr...

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from hospital on Tuesday, the Pentagon announced. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, AFP/Getty Images)

(Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) —  Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon after being treated for a bladder issue and is expected to return to the Pentagon “later this week,” the Defense Department said.

He resumed his full duties from home at 5 p.m., approximately 48 hours after he had first transferred his responsibilities to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks.

Austin will “recuperate and perform his duties remotely from home for a period before returning to work at the Pentagon later this week,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh said earlier Tuesday that Austin was “in good condition” and that the Pentagon anticipated he would be released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later in the day.

The bladder issue that hospitalized Austin on Sunday was not related to the prostate cancer diagnosis he received in December, Singh said. Doctors at Walter Reed said it was related to the surgery to treat the cancer. Complications from the procedure first sent Austin to the hospital on New Year’s Day, where he stayed for two weeks.

The cause of the recent bladder issue was identified and was treated with a non-surgical procedure on Monday, doctors said.

The secretary, Singh said, still anticipates participating in and providing opening remarks at the virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group on Wednesday.

Two different hospitalizations

Austin’s recent hospitalization came just weeks after he was admitted in January following complications from a procedure to treat his prostate cancer. He was intensely criticized for a dayslong delay in notifying the White House of that hospitalization, for which he has said he takes full responsibility.

“I want to be crystal clear: We did not handle this right. And I did not handle this right. I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility,” Austin said at a news conference this month. “I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.”

An administration official told CNN on Tuesday that President Joe Biden and Austin spoke by phone on Tuesday, and the president wished “him well in his recovery.”

A statement from Austin’s doctors on Monday said Austin underwent “non-surgical procedures under general anesthesia to address his bladder issue.” They added that they believed he would make a “successful recovery.”

They have also said Austin is “expected to make a full recovery” from his cancer diagnosis.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released from hospital and expected to return to Pentagon ‘later this week’