According to the Pentagon, Secretary Austin Was Hospitalized in Secret To Treat a Serious Infection

( — The Pentagon on Tuesday released a statement from doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center confirming that Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized last week due to an infection following surgery for prostate cancer, CBS News reported.

The statement offered new details amid the growing controversy over the Defense Department’s failure to notify the president or Congress about Austin’s condition for several days.

According to the statement, the secretary’s prostate cancer was detected in early December. On December 22, Austin underwent a “minimally invasive procedure” to treat the cancer, according to Walter Reed.

During the procedure, Austin was given general anesthesia, and his recovery from surgery was uneventful, the statement said.

Doctors at Walter Reed said the cancer was “detected early” and the prognosis was “excellent.”

However, while recovering at home, Austin began to experience “nausea” and “severe” pain in his abdomen, hip, and leg. On January 1, he was readmitted to Walter Reed, where doctors determined he was suffering from a urinary tract infection. The following day, he was transferred to the ICU, where additional testing found abdominal fluid obstructing Austin’s small intestine. A tube was inserted through his nose to drain his stomach.

According to the statement, Austin “progressed steadily throughout his stay” and the infection cleared up. Doctors anticipate a full, but slow, recovery. Walter Reed insisted that throughout his hospitalization, Secretary Austin was never under general anesthesia and never lost consciousness.

Despite being hospitalized on January 1, the Pentagon failed to inform the White House, Congress, or even the secretary’s second in command for several days.

Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder confirmed that several Defense officials, including the secretary’s chief of staff and the Joint Chiefs Chairman, were informed about his hospitalization on January 2.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks was not informed until January 4, when she was on vacation in Puerto Rico, that Austin was in the hospital.

The secrecy over Secretary Austin’s hospital stay prompted some lawmakers to call for his resignation or firing.

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