US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized once more, this time for symptoms indicating an emergent bladder issue, according to a spokesperson for the Pentagon. This recent hospitalization follows previous stays that were controversially kept secret by Austin.
Austin had effectively disappeared from the public eye in late December and again in early January after experiencing complications from treatment for prostate cancer, which he had undergone on December 22. Notably, he had initially concealed both the diagnosis and treatment from President Joe Biden and the rest of the government.
The public was informed of Austin’s hospitalization around two hours after he was admitted on Sunday afternoon. Defense Department press secretary Pat Ryder issued a statement indicating that military, White House, and congressional officials had all been notified.
Ryder stated, “Secretary Austin was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue.” He also mentioned that Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been notified, along with the White House and Congress.
Despite his hospitalization, Austin will continue to fulfill the duties of his office. This development comes after Austin faced criticism for previously concealing his cancer diagnosis and treatment from the president. He apologized for this omission earlier this month, acknowledging that he should have informed President Biden.
At the time of his apology, Austin mentioned that he was still in recovery, experiencing leg pain, and using a golf cart for transportation within the Pentagon.
These undisclosed absences, along with the current hospitalization, coincide with a critical period for US involvement in global affairs. The United States is facing escalating tensions in the Middle East, with American forces in Iraq and Syria encountering frequent attacks from Iran-backed militants. Additionally, Austin plays a crucial role in the Biden administration’s efforts to support Ukraine in its conflict against Russian aggression, particularly as Republican members of Congress are hesitant to approve new military aid for Kyiv.
Sources By Agencies