OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:50 PM – Monday, January 15, 2024
Following complications from prostate cancer surgery, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, according to a Pentagon statement.
“The Secretary continues to recover well and, on the advice of doctors, will recuperate and perform his duties remotely for a period of time before returning full-time to the Pentagon,” the statement said. “He has full access to required secure communications capabilities.”
After it became apparent that no one, not even the president, was aware for many days that Austin was hospitalized on New Year’s Day, had undergone surgery for prostate cancer, or was experiencing difficulties after the treatment, his admission became contentious.
According to Dr. John Maddox, trauma medical director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, head of the Center for Prostate Disease Research at Walter Reed’s Murtha Cancer Center, Austin made “great progress” throughout his stay and is now “regaining strength.”
“He underwent a series of medical tests and evaluations and received non-surgical care during his stay to address his medical needs, to include resolving some lingering leg pains,” the doctors’ statement read. “He was discharged home with planned physical therapy and regular follow-up. The Secretary is expected to make a full recovery.”
“He has no planned further treatment for his cancer other than regular post-prostatectomy surveillance,” they continued, noting that the cancer was treated very early, which made his prognosis “excellent.”
A document acquired by NPR said that the White House reexamined guidelines for Cabinet members due to the secrecy surrounding Austin’s hospitalization. According to John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council in the White House, President Biden still “has faith in Austin” but also complained that it took too long for him to be informed.
“It is not optimal for a situation like this to go as long as it did without the commander in chief knowing about it, or the national security adviser knowing about it, or frankly, other leaders at the department of defense. That’s not the way this is supposed to happen,” Biden said.
After a routine check-up, Austin’s prostate cancer was discovered in early December 2023. On December 22nd, the defense secretary had a prostatectomy, which is the surgical excision of the prostate gland. At the time of this surgery, he was under general anesthesia, however, the White House was reportedly not informed of this. After his operation, he was healthy enough to go home the next morning.
On January 1st, Austin was then taken to Walter Reed in order to combat certain issues arising from the treatment on December 22nd, including nausea and excruciating pain in his legs, hips, and abdomen. A urinary tract infection (UTI) was found during the initial assessment.
When he was moved to the intensive care unit the next day, it was discovered that he had collections of abdominal fluid that were impairing the function of his small intestine.
Austin also now admits that he could “have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better. But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States. It affects 1 in every 8 men, as well as 1 in every 6 Black men.
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