The Pentagon announced on Sunday that Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III had been taken to a military hospital for treatment for “symptoms of an emergency bladder problem,” and doctors at the hospital later said it was unclear where he would be deployed. How long to stay there.
At 2:20 p.m., Mr. Austin was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Pentagon Valve, Bethesda, Maryland, Maj. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, The military said in its initial statementHe added that the deputy secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the White House and members of Congress, had been notified.
In a second statement on Sunday night, Gen. Ryder said Mr. Austin, 70, had handed over the “functions and responsibilities” of his office to Deputy Defense Secretary Katharine H. Shee at about 4:55 p.m. Kathleen H. Hicks.
other statementOn Sunday night, two senior doctors at Walter Reed Hospital released news that Mr. Austin was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit that evening after a series of tests. Doctors John Maddox and Gregory Chestnut said it was unclear how long he would be hospitalized.
Last month, Mr. Austin spent several days at Walter Reed Hospital treating complications related to recent surgery for prostate cancer. His bladder problems are “not expected to alter his expected full recovery,” doctors said in a statement Sunday. Cancer prognosis remains good.
The announcements appeared designed to show transparency about Mr. Austin’s medical condition and highlight the fact that multiple senior U.S. government officials had been informed of it.
Mr Austin widely criticized He initially kept his hospital visit secret last month from senior administration officials, including President Joe Biden, the White House national security adviser, the secretary of state and senior Pentagon officials, including those who report directly to his office.
Mr. Austin also did not inform the president that he underwent the original surgery in December.
legislator Appeal to the Pentagon To answer why so many officials are kept in the dark. Biden said on January 12 that he still had confidence in Mr. Austin. But when the president was asked whether this was a lapse in judgment on the part of Mr Austin for not notifying him that he was no longer in office, Mr Biden said “yes”.
Mr. Austin, a retired four-star Army general and former commander of U.S. Central Command, had served in the military for more than 40 years when he took over the top Pentagon job in 2021. Throughout his career, he has tried to avoid and tried to keep many parts of his life away from the public spotlight.
Mike Ives Contributed reporting.