Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Back in Hospital With Bladder Issue: Pentagon

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Written By Maya Cantina

The Pentagon announced that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, 70, was hospitalized Sunday afternoon for “symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue.” The statement said Austin was retaining his powers. Austin has been being treated for prostate cancer since December.


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Austin was roundly criticized for keeping for keeping his cancer diagnosis and subsequent hospitalization in late December for complications from prostate surgery a closely held secret from the public, much of his staff and even Joe Biden. Republican members of Congress called on Austin to resign but he refused.

Sunday’s prompt statement on Austin’s hospitalization is a big change for the notoriously private Austin.

The Pentagon statement was also posted to its social media accounts:

Statement From Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder on Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Health Status
Feb. 11, 2024

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following statement:

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. The Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been notified. Additionally, White House and Congressional notifications have occurred.

At this time, the Secretary is retaining the functions and duties of his office. The Deputy Secretary is prepared to assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense, if required. Secretary Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties.

We will provide an update on Secretary Austin’s condition as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, NBC News noted Austin was limping with leg pain when he spoke to reporters about his secret hospitalization for complications from his cancer treatment.

The Pentagon’s January 9 statement on Austin mentioned leg pain as one of the complications he was suffering (excerpt):

According to doctors at Walter Reed, Austin underwent surgery Dec. 22 to treat prostate cancer, which had been detected earlier in the month following a regular screening.

Dr. John Maddox, director of trauma medical, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, director of the Center for Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Center, both at Walter Reed, released a statement earlier today regarding Austin’s response to that surgery.

According to doctors at Walter Reed, Austin underwent surgery Dec. 22 to treat prostate cancer, which had been detected earlier in the month following a regular screening.

“Secretary Austin recovered uneventfully from his surgery and returned home the next morning,” they wrote. “His prostate cancer was detected early, and his prognosis is excellent.”

On Monday of last week, Austin’s doctors said, the secretary was admitted to Walter Reed with complications related to that earlier surgery. Those complications included nausea, along with abdominal, hip and leg pain. In response to those complications, Austin underwent additional treatment at Walter Reed, and he remains there recovering from those additional procedures.

“He has progressed steadily throughout his stay,” Maddox and Chesnut wrote in their statement. “His infection has cleared. He continues to make progress and we anticipate a full recovery, although this can be a slow process.”

Austin was released from Walter Reed on January 15.

Austin returned to the Pentagon on January 29 after performing his duties at home while recuperating.

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