Pentagon chief in hospital due to ‘emergent bladder issue’
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized for a medical emergency on Sunday, the Pentagon announced.
According to spokesman Major General Pat Ryder, Austin was “transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue.”
Austin has “transferred the functions and duties of the office” to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the spokesman said.
Ryder said that the White House and Congress have been notified about the hospitalization.
Austin underwent surgery to treat prostate cancer on December 22. He was then hospitalized for two weeks in early January due to “complications,” the Pentagon said.
The Defense Department was criticized for the way Austin’s January hospital stay was handled, after it was revealed that the Pentagon had not properly informed President Joe Biden until several days later.
“I have apologized directly to President Biden and I’ve told him that I’m deeply sorry for not letting him know immediately that I received a heavy diagnosis and was getting treatment,” Austin said at the time. He added that he “never directed anyone” to keep the White House in the dark about his hospitalization.