Lloyd Austin has been admitted to a critical care unit at Walter Reed Medical Center ‘for supportive care and close monitoring’ after he was hospitalized for ‘symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue.’
The Defense Secretary, 70, was transported to military hospital after the symptoms emerged Sunday afternoon.
According to a hospital official, Austin was admitted to the critical care unit ‘after a series of tests and evaluations.’
‘At this time, it is not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized. The current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery. His cancer prognosis remains excellent,’ Dr. John Maddox said in a statement.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, 70, has had his duties stripped and transferred to deputy Kathleen Hicks after he was hospitalized for ‘symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue’
Later Sunday, the DoD announced that ‘at around 4:55pm’ Austin transferred the functions and duties of the office of the Secretary of Defense to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks (pictured), adding that the White House and Congress had all been notified
Later Sunday, the DoD said ‘at 4:55pm’ Austin transferred the functions and duties of the office of the Secretary of Defense to Deputy Secretary of Defense to Hicks.
Hicks ‘assumed the functions and duties’ of Austin as of 5pm Sunday, a spokesman confirmed
Austin said earlier this month that his failure to immediately notify Biden was partially due to his instinct to keep his health private along with being ‘shook’ by the news of his cancer diagnosis.
During a press conference earlier this month, Austin said he would immediately notify his deputy and the White House Situation Room if he has a medical issue, which appeared to ring true with his hospital visit on Sunday.
‘I have apologized directly to President Biden. I told him I’m deeply sorry for not letting him know immediately,’ Austin said during a press conference at the Pentagon on February 1.
‘I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis, I should have also told my team and the American public,’ he added. ‘I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.’
President Joe Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (with a walker) stand during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware of the bodies of three U.S. troops killed in a drone attack in Jordan last month
DoD Sec. Austin spoke during a press conference at the Pentagon on February 1 where he apologized for not immediately informing President Joe Biden of his diagnosis and surgery for prostate cancer last month
It was his first time speaking publicly about his medical scare and comes as he tries to recover from the scandal of keeping it a secret.
The health scares come during a time when the world is embroiled in turmoil, including a war between Ukraine and Russia, between Israel and Hamas and increasing tensions between China and Taiwan and Houthis with Yemen Sunnis.
Having an absent or incapacitated Defense Secretary could further complicate the U.S. role in all of this.
With Austin’s hospitalization on Sunday, Hicks is ‘prepared to assume the duties’ of secretary if needed. The DoD secretary, however, is retaining his powers for the time being, Maj. Gen. Ryder noted.
Far-right political activist Laura Loomer said Austin should step down from his post after back-to-back health scares.
‘Time for him to resign,’ she posted to X on Sunday. ‘You can’t be sick and also be Defense Secretary.’
Write and podcaster Jake Novak agreed, posting: ‘Lloyd Austin back in the hospital. President with dementia, chronically sick SecDef. This is the threat to our troops… but the big story is insulting Nikki Haley’s husband?!?’
The retired general said in his press conference this month that his diagnosis with prostate cancer was a ‘gut punch.’
‘I was being treated for prostate cancer,’ he noted. ‘The news shook me and I know it shakes so many others, especially in the black community. It was a gut punch.’
‘Frankly, my first instinct was to keep it private,’ the Pentagon chief added. ‘I don’t think it’s news that I’m a pretty private guy. I never like the burdening others with my problems.’
‘It is just not my way. But I’ve learned from this experience taking this kind of job means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect. The American people have a right to know if their leaders are facing health challenges that might affect their ability to perform their duties even temporarily,’ he said.
Major General Ryder’s full statement on Austin’s hospitalization reads:
‘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.’