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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is discharged from hospital, resuming full duties

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a Pentagon press briefing at the Pentagon on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 in Washington.
Kevin Wolf
/
AP
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a Pentagon press briefing at the Pentagon on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 in Washington.

Updated February 13, 2024 at 6:24 PM ET

WASHINGTON — 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.

Austin's doctors said Tuesday that his bladder issue was related to the surgery.

"The bladder issue was not related to his cancer diagnosis and will have no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis," Dr. John Maddox, trauma medical director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, director of the Center for Prostate Disease Research at the Murtha Cancer Center, said in a statement.

On their advice, Austin will work from home before returning to the Pentagon later this week. His home has "full access to the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties," the Pentagon said in a statement.

Austin is expected to host a virtual meeting Wednesday of about 50 countries who meet monthly to coordinate military aid for Ukraine.

He had been scheduled to travel to Brussels on Tuesday for that Ukraine meeting, followed by a quarterly meeting with NATO defense ministers on Thursday. The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Julie Smith, will represent Austin in Brussels instead.

In January, Austin was hospitalized for two weeks at Walter Reed after he experienced complications from the surgery.

His Walter Reed doctors had said they did not anticipate he would be in the hospital this time for a prolonged period.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press