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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Hospitalized Again

41-year Army veteran had a hospital stay weeks ago after complications from prostate cancer treatment

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Hospitalized Again

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized again, this time because of “an emergent bladder issue.”

According to a Pentagon statement, Austin has been admitted into the critical care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and is being closely monitored.

Defense Department officials say he was taken to the hospital around 2:20 p.m. but have not stated how long he will be hospitalized.

On Jan. 1, Austin, a 41-year Army veteran, was hospitalized because of complications from a December surgery to treat prostate cancer.

The following day, his responsibilities were transferred to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks. However, controversy ensued over the White House not being notified of Austin’s absence for two days. The Pentagon attributed the delay in notification to Austin’s chief of staff being out sick with the flu.

Austin’s absence drew bipartisan criticism from various members on congress.

The chair and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee released a joint statement calling for additional disclosures from the Pentagon on Austin’s condition.

“While we wish Sec. Austin a speedy recovery, we are concerned with how the disclosure of the Secretary’s condition was handled,” said Reps. Mike Rogers and Adam Smith.

"Several questions remain unanswered including what the medical procedure and resulting complications were, what the secretary’s current health status is, how and when the delegation of the secretary’s responsibilities were made, and the reason for the delay in notification to the President and Congress,” they added. “Transparency is vitally important. Sec. Austin must provide these additional details on his health and the decision-making process that occurred in the past week as soon as possible.”

Two weeks ago, Austin issued a formal apology over how he handled the hospital stay.

“I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility,” Austin said during a press conference. “We did not handle this right. I did not handle this right.”

Following yesterday’s hospital admission, a Pentagon spokesperson initially said Austin would retain his duties. But by the end of the day, said that Austin had “transferred the functions and duties of the office" to Hicks.

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