US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized again and “entered an intensive care unit” to treat a bladder problem as he continues to recover from prostate cancer. Amid the recovery, he transferred power to his deputy Kathleen Hicks, the Pentagon reported.Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December and continues to deal with complications from his treatment.
Around 2:20 pm on Sunday, February 11, his security team took him to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “to be treated for symptoms that suggest an emerging bladder problem,” the Press Secretary of Pentagon, Major General Pat Ryder.
Although Austin intended to continue the “functions and obligations of his position,” around 5:00 pm on Sunday he transferred the powers to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks. As of Sunday night, he was still hospitalized.
A statement from Walter Reed medical officials revealed that Austin He was admitted to the intensive care unit for supportive care and close monitoring.
Dr. John Maddox, medical director of trauma, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, director of the Prostate Disease Research Center at the Murtha Cancer Center, said that although it is unclear at this time how long he will remain hospitalized, “it is unknown. ” “He is hoping that the current kidney problem will change his expected full recovery.”
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was notified, as well as the White House and Congress.
Austin is scheduled to leave on Tuesday for Brussels to hold a meeting of the contact group with Ukraine, which he created in 2022 to coordinate military support to kyiv after the Russian invasion. Afterwards, Austin was scheduled to attend a regular meeting of NATO defense ministers.
It was not immediately clear if this hospitalization would change those plans.
What is known about Austin’s diagnosis
Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December and underwent a procedure called a prostatectomy to treat it on December 22.
The following week, complications arose and on January 1, suffering from severe pain, he was taken by ambulance to Walter Reed, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit. Austin remained at Walter Reed until January 15. He continued to recuperate and work from home and returned to the Pentagon on January 29.
Her doctors previously said her prognosis against the cancer was “excellent” and she would not need further treatment.
Austin has returned to Walter Reed for checkups since his hospitalization, but this is his first unscheduled trip due to ongoing complications from his cancer treatments.
Austin did not inform President Joe Biden, Congress or his deputy defense secretary of his cancer diagnosis in December or his first hospitalization in weeks. This secrecy has been the subject of an inspector general investigation and an internal Pentagon review.
Austin previously said he never instructed his staff to keep his hospitalization a secret.