Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized with an “emergent bladder issue” on Sunday and admitted to a critical care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He underwent non-surgical procedures and transferred his duties to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
The hospital initially stated that Austin’s bladder issue wouldn’t affect his overall recovery from prostate cancer, and he was expected to resume his duties soon. However, he remains hospitalized, and it’s unclear how long he will stay.
Austin’s security detail took him to Walter Reed after symptoms appeared on Sunday afternoon. Despite initially planning to retain his duties, Austin later transferred them to Hicks.
His hospitalization led to the cancellation of his upcoming trip to Brussels and Germany. This trip was significant as Austin was set to attend meetings regarding Ukraine and NATO defense ministers.
Austin’s health has been a concern in recent months, as he previously underwent surgery for prostate cancer. In December, he experienced complications from the procedure, leading to a hospitalization for a bladder infection and abdominal issues.
Despite these challenges, doctors remain optimistic about Austin’s recovery from both his bladder issue and prostate cancer, emphasizing his excellent prognosis.
Austin’s recent hospitalization also highlighted the importance of transparency regarding the health of government officials. He publicly apologized for the delay in informing the White House about his hospitalization and emphasized the need for timely notification in such situations.
As Austin continues his recovery, Deputy Defense Secretary Hicks will oversee his duties, ensuring continuity in the Department of Defense’s operations.