Lloyd Austin in the Philippines wearing a face mask and a face shield.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, aged 70, was admitted to the Critical Care Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday, following complications related to an emergent bladder issue.
This development comes amid Austin’s ongoing battle with prostate cancer, diagnosed in December, raising concerns about his health and capacity to fulfill his duties.
The Pentagon initially reported Austin’s hospitalization on Sunday afternoon, stating that he was being treated for symptoms suggesting a bladder issue.
Despite the serious nature of his condition, the Pentagon confirmed that Austin retained his powers shortly after his admission. However, by the evening, the situation seemed to have escalated, leading to the transfer of his responsibilities to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
Austin’s health has been a subject of controversy and concern following revelations of his prostate cancer diagnosis.
It can be recalled that Austin secretly had prostate cancer surgery on December 22. He was placed under general anesthesia for the operation after being gravely ill with a spreading infection and intestinal issues requiring a tube to drain his stomach. Then, on January 1, he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland following the complications from the surgery.
The Pentagon said that Austin did not inform Joe Biden, the White House, or Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks about the medical procedure.
Austin kept just about everyone in the dark about his condition until early January, including Joe Biden, even though the U.S. is involved in conflicts in the Middle East and Europe and a hot zone in the South China Sea.
On Sunday evening, Dr. John Maddox, Trauma Medical Director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut of the Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed, provided an update on Secretary Austin’s condition, stating that after undergoing tests and evaluations, the Secretary required admission into the critical care unit (CCU) for comprehensive care and monitoring.
According to Healthline, CCU is comparable to an intensive care unit (ICU). Both terms can be used interchangeably.
Here is the statement from Walter Reed:
Statement From Walter Reed Military Medical Center Officials on Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Health Status
Dr. John Maddox, Trauma Medical Director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, Center for Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Center Director, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, provided the following statement regarding Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s health status:
Earlier today, 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. Tonight, after a series of tests and evaluations, the Secretary was admitted into the critical care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for supportive care and close monitoring.
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. Updates on the Secretary’s condition will be provided as soon as possible.