Over the recent weekend, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to a bladder condition, as announced by the Pentagon. Physicians John Maddox and Gregory Chesnut issued a statement through the Pentagon, revealing that Austin was placed in the critical care unit on Sunday for close observation following a series of diagnostic procedures.
The duration of Austin’s hospital stay remains uncertain, but his medical team anticipates a full recovery from this bladder issue, affirming that his cancer prognosis continues to be favorable. Further updates regarding Austin’s health are expected to be shared in due course.
Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder disclosed earlier that Austin’s admission to Walter Reed was prompted by symptoms indicative of an urgent bladder problem. In light of his hospitalization, Austin delegated his responsibilities to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, ensuring that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Congress were informed of the change.
This recent hospitalization follows an earlier incident on January 1, when Austin sought medical attention for leg discomfort linked to prostate cancer treatment, resulting in a four-day hospital stay. During this period, Deputy Secretary Hicks temporarily assumed Austin’s duties. However, the delay in notifying the White House about Austin’s condition drew criticism.
In response to concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding his previous hospital admission, Austin has agreed to appear before the House Armed Services Committee on February 29. The hearing will address the secrecy of his prior hospitalization, which was not disclosed to Congress or Joe Biden.
This lack of communication has sparked frustration among some lawmakers, particularly in the context of the United States’ involvement in international conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, leading to calls from GOP House members for Austin’s resignation.