Defense Secretary Austin Taken to Hospital, Duties Transferred

( – In December 2023, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent a procedure to treat the issue. Weeks later, he went back into the hospital for treatment of a complication stemming from his cancer treatment. While doctors gave him the all-clear to return to work and his prognosis is positive, Austin recently went to the hospital again. This time, he passed his duties to someone else.

On February 11, the US Department of Defense (DoD) released a statement from Walter Reed Military Medical Center officials. Trauma Medical Director Dr. John Maddox and Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Center Director Dr. Gregory Chestnut revealed that the secretary was brought by his security detail to Walter Reed for an “emergent bladder issue.”

The doctors said Austin was admitted to the critical care unit, and it was unclear how long he would require treatment and monitoring. That said, the medical professionals do not think the current bladder issue will change the fact that he is expected to make a full recovery from his previous treatments. In fact, Maddox and Chestnut described his prognosis as “excellent” and promised to keep the public informed about his condition.

Unlike the last couple of times Austin was in the hospital, the secretary temporarily handed his duties over to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks in his absence. He also swiftly notified the chain of command as to his condition. The defense secretary initially kept his cancer diagnosis private — a move he later took responsibility for, promising to keep the public informed going forward. It appears he’s keeping his word.

According to Newsmax, the defense secretary was scheduled to hold a meeting in Brussels regarding Ukraine before heading to a meeting with NATO defense ministers. It’s unclear if he will be able to make those meetings, send Hicks instead, or postpone the meetings until he’s well.

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