Austin Was Hospitalized for Complications From Prostate Cancer Surgery

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has been hospitalized for the past week because of complications after he had prostate cancer surgery, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said in a statement on Tuesday.

A hospital official said Mr. Austin was admitted on Jan. 1 with severe abdominal, hip and leg pain after what the hospital characterized as a minor prostate cancer procedure the week before. The defense secretary was put in intensive care, where excess abdominal fluid was drained.

Since then, “his infection has cleared,” according to the statement, from Dr. John Maddox and Dr. Gregory Chesnut at Walter Reed.

The doctors described Mr. Austin’s surgery, called a prostatectomy, as a “minimally invasive surgical procedure.” Mr. Austin’s prostate cancer was detected early and his prognosis was “excellent,” they said.

The fiercely private defense secretary has been guarded about his medical issues, refusing to disclose for more than a week why he was in the hospital. The subject has been a topic of intense interest since Friday, when the Pentagon first publicly disclosed that the defense secretary had been in the hospital for four days.

Mr. Austin’s hospitalization had been kept from the White House and President Biden himself for three days. Pentagon officials informed the White House on Thursday that the defense secretary was hospitalized.

The secrecy has prompted criticism across the board, especially from lawmakers, who were not told until Friday.

Mr. Biden has said that he retains his faith in Mr. Austin.

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