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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is released from hospital and resumes duties

Austin was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after he was hospitalized for a bladder issue.
Lloyd Austin speaks during a press conference at the Pentagon
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on Feb. 1.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP - Getty Images file

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital Tuesday after he was admitted to a critical care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this week following hospitalization for a bladder issue.

The Defense Department said in a news release that Austin was released from the hospital in Washington in consultation with medical staff members at about 3:30 p.m. ET. Austin resumed his full duties at 5 p.m. and will work from home as he recovers, the Pentagon said.

He is expected to return to work in person later this week.

A defense official said Monday that Austin's trip this week to Brussels, where he had planned to attend meetings with NATO defense ministers and the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, was canceled. He will still take part and deliver opening remarks to the Ukraine Defense Contact Group virtually, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said at a briefing Tuesday before Austin was discharged.

In a joint statement Tuesday, Dr. John Maddox, Walter Reed's trauma medical director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, who directs the center for prostate disease research at the hospital's cancer center, said Austin remained in "good condition" after his hospitalization Sunday.

They also said his treatment for the bladder issue, which was corrected nonsurgically Monday, was not linked to his earlier cancer diagnosis "and will have no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis."

Austin had transferred his duties to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Sunday, the day he was hospitalized.

Hicks, the White House, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Congress were all notified of Austin's discharge Tuesday, the Pentagon said.

Austin was in the hospital last month, as well. That time he faced widespread criticism for his delay in notifying the White House and key Pentagon officials about complications after a minimally invasive procedure to treat his previously undisclosed prostate cancer.

At a news conference this month, Austin apologized, saying: “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. I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.”

Austin has agreed to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 29 to answer questions about his failure to promptly inform the White House and top officials about his hospitalization last month.