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Defense Secretary Austin undergoes 'non-surgical procedures' under anesthesia, Pentagon says

The procedures were related to a bladder issue after Lloyd Austin was hospitalized and then admitted to a critical care unit Sunday.
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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was recently under general anesthesia for "non-surgical procedures," the Defense Department said Monday.

The procedures were related to a bladder issue after Austin was hospitalized and then admitted to a critical care unit Sunday, it said in a statement.

“A prolonged hospital stay is not anticipated,” two doctors at Walter Reed National Military Center said in Monday's statement.?“We anticipate the Secretary will be able to resume his normal duties tomorrow. The current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery.?His cancer prognosis remains excellent.”

Austin was hospitalized last month in intensive care for "complications following a recent elective medical procedure," according to the Pentagon. It was later revealed that he had prostate cancer.

Austin transferred his duties to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks?on Sunday. The White House and Congress were notified about Austin's condition Sunday.

Austin was initially scheduled to travel to Brussels this week to attend meetings with NATO defense ministers and the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The trip was canceled, but Wednesday's meeting with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group will be held virtually, according to a defense official.

Austin previously faced widespread criticism for the delay in disclosing his hospitalization in January to the White House. He has apologized for his handling of the matter.

"I want to be crystal clear," Austin said this month.?"We did not handle this right. And I did not handle this right."

Following the criticism, the Biden administration standardized notification rules so the White House would be alerted if Cabinet secretaries were unable to perform their duties.

A White House official told NBC News that Austin's office has provided the White House and the National Security Council with regular updates this week.

A separate official said Sunday's notification of Austin's hospitalization was executed in accordance with protocol.

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