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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's medical procedure is over, resumed functions and duties

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(WASHINGTON) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has returned home following his “non-surgical medical procedure” on Friday, and his since resumed his duties, said Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman.

Austin underwent the two-and-a-half hour procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, during which his authorities were temporarily transferred to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.

“He is now back home and will continue with his official schedule which includes events on Monday for Memorial Day,” Ryder said, who announced the procedure in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

“The procedure is related to a bladder issue Austin suffered as a result of a surgery he underwent to treat prostate cancer earlier this year,” said Ryder said at the time.

“The Secretary has determined he will be temporarily unable to perform his functions and duties during the procedure, so Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense and serve as the Acting Secretary of Defense,” Ryder had added.

Ryder noted that the bladder issue is not related to Austin’s prostate cancer diagnosis and “has had no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis.”

Ryder added that the “White House and congressional notifications have occurred.”

Friday’s announcement continues the transparency about Austin’s health and potential treatments that he committed to undertake in the wake of the controversy surrounding his secret hospitalization on New Year’s Day.

Austin had been hospitalized from complications arising from a surgical procedure he had undergone in late December to treat his prostate cancer.

Neither President Joe Biden nor his top advisors were made aware that Austin had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, that he underwent a surgical procedure to treat it, and that he had been hospitalized in early January as he suffered complications from that procedure.

While Austin remained hospitalized for days in early January, his duties had temporarily been transferred to Hicks though she was not made aware of the reason why until days later. It was after she learned that he had been hospitalized that the White House was first informed that Austin had been hospitalized for days.

The furor surrounding the lack of proper notifications led to an internal Pentagon review that resulted in changes in who should be notified of the secretary’s health status, when a transfer of authorities had occurred and why the temporary transfer was taking place.

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