Defense Secretary Austin Hospitalized Again for Bladder Issue, Delegates Powers Amid Ongoing Cancer Recovery
Washington, D.C. – American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been admitted to the hospital once more, this time to address a bladder issue while still recovering from prostate cancer. The Pentagon announced that Secretary Austin has transferred his authorities to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks as he seeks medical attention.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in December and having undergone a prostatectomy on Dec. 22, Austin has faced complications and ongoing health challenges related to his treatment. On Sunday at approximately 2:20 p.m., he was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for urgent evaluation of symptoms indicating a bladder issue, according to a statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Initially planning to maintain the duties of his office, Austin made the decision to delegate responsibilities to Deputy Secretary Hicks around 5 p.m. on Sunday. As of the latest update on Sunday evening, Austin remains hospitalized, and Ryder stated that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House, and Congress have all been informed.
The unexpected hospitalization raises questions about Austin’s upcoming schedule, particularly his planned departure for Brussels on Tuesday to lead a meeting of the Ukraine contact group, established in 2022 to coordinate military support for Kyiv following Russia’s invasion. Additionally, Austin was scheduled to attend a regular meeting of NATO defense ministers.
While Austin’s doctors have previously expressed confidence in his recovery, noting an “excellent” prognosis and no need for further treatments, this latest hospitalization marks his first unscheduled trip due to complications from cancer treatments. The secrecy surrounding his initial cancer diagnosis and hospitalization has led to an inspector general investigation and an internal review at the Pentagon. Austin, however, has maintained that he did not instruct his staff to keep his hospitalization a secret.
UPDATE: Defense Secretary Austin hospitalized with bladder issue, transfers powers to his deputy
— FOX 12 Oregon (@fox12oregon) February 12, 2024