Politics

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin transported to DC-area hospital for ‘emergent bladder issue,’ transfers ‘functions, duties’ to deputy

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington on Sunday after suffering from symptoms of an “emergent bladder issue,” the Pentagon said.

The Defense Department said in a statement that the White House had been notified and Austin had transferred “the functions and duties of the office” to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.

“Today, at approximately 2:20 pm, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

Austin, 70, has been under scrutiny regarding his decision to shield his prostate cancer diagnosis and recent hospitalization from White House and Pentagon officials, including President Biden.

The defense secretary apparently tried to conceal his Jan. 1 admittance to Walter Reed after complications related to a December surgery to treat prostate cancer.

Lloyd Austin
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to the hospital for an “emergent bladder issue.” Getty Images

While Austin is notoriously private, critics argued he lost some rights to personal secrecy when he took on the nation’s top defense job.

Austin has agreed to testify on Capitol Hill later this month regarding his decision to shield his initial hospitalization from White House and Pentagon officials.

In January, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) launched a formal congressional investigation into the Defense chief’s hospitalization.

A man and a woman sitting in front of a black background at a news studio discussing Jon Stewart’s criticism of the Department of Defense.
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has assumed Austin’s duties, according to the Pentagon. The War Horse News

Rogers demanded a “detailed account” of Austin’s hospital stay and how he communicated his absence to Pentagon and Biden administration officials. 

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