Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

SECDEF Austin has ‘no planned’ additional treatment for cancer, doctors say  

Then-Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd J. Austin III before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C. Jan. 19, 2021. (EJ Hersom/DOD)
January 30, 2024

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin returned to his position at the Pentagon on Monday after a follow-up examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Austin was admitted to the hospital on January 1 after he developed an infection following surgery to treat prostate cancer on December 22. 

According to USA Today, Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder issued a statement that Austin’s treatment for cancer had been “early and effective” with an “excellent prognosis,” adding that Austin continued to conduct his duties from home as he completes medical treatment and recovery.

“Beyond planned physical therapy and regular post-prostatectomy follow-up appointments, he has no planned further treatment for his cancer,” said doctors John Maddox and Gregory Chesnut, according to Stars and Stripes.

Austin’s hospitalization sparked a firestorm of controversy regarding high-ranking officials’ duty to inform the White House and the public regarding health issues that may impact their ability to perform their assigned duties. 

The Pentagon announced Austin’s hospitalization on January 5, one day after receiving notification from the Defense Department that Austin had been hospitalized. Following the announcement, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) posted on X, formerly Twitter, that Austin’s lack of transparency and communication should be addressed. 

While speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” former Vice President Mike Pence stated, “The handling of this by the Secretary of Defense is totally unacceptable. I think it was a dereliction of duty and the Secretary and the administration, frankly, need to step forward and give the American people the facts.”

According to USA Today, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) felt that Austin’s actions were not a dereliction of duty, citing HIPAA laws.

“The HIPAA laws keep us out of people’s medical business,” he said. “And I do believe this man has as much right to be protected by those laws and be subjected to those laws as everybody else.”

READ MORE: Defense chief Austin was hospitalized for complications from prostate surgery

The delay in Austin’s disclosure of his absence from the White House has been explained as a series of miscommunications. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks was notified that Austin was delegating some of his authorities to her care on January 2, the day after his hospitalization, via standard email procedure.

In addition to Hicks, Kelly Magsamen, chief of staff, and other officials were also notified of Austin’s hospitalization. Magsamen was unable to notify the White House until January 4 due to her own absence caused by the flu. 

On January 9, the Pentagon released a memo clarifying and updating standard policy and procedure to be followed in the future regarding staffing outages. The memo also directs all cabinet members to submit existing delegation protocols for review.