U.S. defense secretary released from hospital

(Xinhua) 13:15, February 14, 2024

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital on Tuesday, the Pentagon said, after a two-day stay to treat a bladder issue.

Austin was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in northern Washington, D.C., in the afternoon and subsequently resumed his full functions and duties, the Pentagon said in a statement, adding that the secretary will work remotely from home before returning to work at the Pentagon later this week.

The bladder issue, the statement said, was related to Austin's prostate cancer surgery performed in December 2023 but "was not related to his cancer diagnosis and will have no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis."

Austin was transported to Walter Reed on Sunday afternoon "to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue," and was admitted into the intensive care unit later that night, according to statements issued at the time by Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder and Walter Reed officials.

During his stay at the hospital, Austin transferred the functions and duties of the office of the secretary of defense to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

It was not until Jan. 4 that U.S. President Joe Biden and the White House finally became aware of Austin's cancer diagnosis and hospitalization, which lasted until mid-January.

On Feb. 1, Austin apologized for not having communicated his cancer diagnosis and treatment properly, saying that he learned from the controversy and criticism surrounding his mishandling of the matter that taking a job as important as the Pentagon chief "means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect."

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Kou Jie)


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