US Defense Secretary HospitalizedWorld | February 12, 2024, Monday // 09:07| views
The United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, has been hospitalized for symptoms of a bladder issue, leading to the transfer of duties to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. The development was confirmed by Pentagon Press Secretary Major Gen. Pat Ryder on Monday.
Secretary Austin was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday afternoon after experiencing symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue. He remains hospitalized and under medical treatment, according to Pentagon officials.
In response to Secretary Austin's hospitalization, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks has assumed the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense's office. The Pentagon promptly notified key stakeholders, including the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House, and Congress, about the situation.
Despite the health setback, Secretary Austin retains the functions and duties of his office, with Deputy Secretary Hicks assuming temporary responsibilities in his absence. Updates regarding Secretary Austin's condition will be provided as they become available.
This recent hospitalization follows Secretary Austin's history of medical challenges, including a recent surgery for prostate cancer in December. Complications arising from the procedure, such as a urinary tract infection and intestinal issues, have raised concerns about his health.
Secretary Austin's delayed disclosure of his cancer diagnosis to President Joe Biden and the public has sparked criticism and prompted an apology from the Defense Secretary. President Biden expressed confidence in Austin's abilities but called the delayed notification a "lapse in judgment."
Acknowledging his failure to promptly disclose his diagnosis, Secretary Austin apologized to President Biden and expressed regret for not informing him immediately. As Deputy Secretary Hicks assumes temporary duties, Secretary Austin's condition continues to be monitored at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
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