Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III was released from the hospital Monday after a two-week stay for complications related to prostate cancer surgery that he kept secret from the White House for several days , announced the Pentagon.
Mr. Austin, 70, on the advice of his doctors, will continue to recover and perform his duties from home before returning full-time to the Pentagon, the Defense Department said in a statement Monday.
“I am grateful for the excellent care I received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and would like to thank the exceptional doctors and nurses for their professionalism and superb support,” Mr. Austin said in a separate statement Monday. “I am also grateful and grateful for all the good wishes I have received for a speedy recovery.”
Neither statement mentioned the outcry over Mr. Austin’s hospitalization, damaging his credibility with President Biden and Congress, and raising questions about his department’s overall competence to address the crisis. which he himself caused. All of this is now the subject of an ongoing Department of Defense investigation led by the inspector general.
The defense secretary, a retired four-star Army general, is fiercely private and has been careful to discuss his medical problems.
Mr. Austin was in severe pain and was rushed by ambulance to Walter Reed on January 1. He was placed in intensive care after complications from surgery he underwent Dec. 22 to remove his prostate. But several senior Pentagon officials did not learn of the Secretary of State’s hospitalization until the next day, January 2. The White House was not informed until January 4, a major breach of protocol at the highest levels of national security. To further complicate matters, neither Pentagon nor White House officials learned until last Tuesday that Mr. Austin had been diagnosed with cancer in early December.
Two of Mr. Austin’s doctors at Walter Reed, Dr. John Maddox, medical director of trauma, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, director of the Prostate Disease Research Center, said in the Pentagon statement that the secretary ” had progressed well throughout his stay and his mandate. the force rebounds.
“He underwent a series of medical tests and evaluations and received non-surgical care during his stay to address his medical needs, including resolving some persistent leg pain,” the doctors added, noting that he would follow physical therapy and would have periodic post-operative exams. and is expected to make a full recovery.
“Secretary Austin’s prostate cancer was treated quickly and effectively, and his prognosis is excellent,” doctors said.