Procedure and recovery
The office of Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced that he will be undergoing a medical procedure that requires general anesthesia and is expected to last approximately 90 minutes. The procedure will take place soon, and the Attorney General is expected to return home the same day. During the procedure, as well as for a short period following, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will assume the responsibilities of the Attorney General to allow for a smooth recovery from the anesthesia. Garland is anticipated to return to work during the week of February 5th.
Importance of transparency
It is customary for top government officials to inform the public when they are undergoing medical treatment that may temporarily incapacitate them. However, this was not the case earlier this month when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized for several days before undergoing a surgical procedure. Despite experiencing extreme pain and being admitted to intensive care, Austin did not disclose the details of his condition to the White House or his deputy until days later. This lack of transparency has prompted ongoing reviews and changes in federal guidelines to ensure that the White House is promptly informed in similar situations.
Garland’s previous public disclosure
When Garland underwent a routine medical procedure in 2022, his office informed the public a week in advance and provided clear information on the duration of his absence and expected return to work. This transparency demonstrates the importance of keeping the public well-informed about the health and availability of government officials.
The Justice Department has followed the new guidelines and informed the White House of the plans to delegate the Attorney General’s duties during his recovery. White House spokeswoman Olivia Dalton confirmed the notification.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.