Secretary Austin released from hospital after treatment for bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Tuesday after undergoing treatment for a bladder issue, according to the Pentagon.  

Austin, 70, had been having ongoing health issues since undergoing surgery in December to treat prostate cancer. He was taken back to Walter Reed over the weekend for a bladder issue and admitted to intensive care for the second time since the surgery.

Austin underwent nonsurgical procedures Monday under general anesthesia to address the bladder issue, and his doctors had said they did not anticipate he would be in the hospital this time for a prolonged period.

Austin was hospitalized for two weeks at Walter Reed last month after he experienced complications from the surgery.

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said Tuesday the bladder issue was not related to Austin’s prostate cancer, but wouldn’t say whether it was a further complication from his December surgery.

The Pentagon said Austin resumed his full functions and duties hours after his hospital release. 

‘On the advice of his doctors, Secretary Austin will recuperate and perform his duties remotely from home for a period before returning to work at the Pentagon later this week,’ a spokesperson said. ‘He has full access to the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties.’

Austin will host a virtual meeting on Wednesday of about 50 countries that meet monthly to coordinate military aid for Ukraine.

The Defense Secretary had been scheduled to travel to Brussels on Tuesday for the Ukraine meeting, followed by a quarterly meeting with NATO defense ministers later this week. The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Julie Smith, will represent Austin at that meeting instead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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