Defense Secretary Returns to Hospital With Bladder Issues

MONDAY, Feb. 12, 2024 (Healthday News) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III, who spent time in intensive care last month for complications related to prostate cancer surgery performed in December, has returned to the hospital with bladder issues, the Pentagon announced Sunday.

“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,” his doctors said in a statement released by the Pentagon on Sunday evening.

“At this time, it is not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized,” the statement added. “The current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery. His cancer prognosis remains excellent.”

In the Pentagon’s first statement, released Sunday afternoon by the Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the agency said the deputy defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been notified of Austin’s condition, as well as the White House and members of Congress.

In a second statement released on Sunday evening, Ryder said that Austin, 70, had “transferred the functions and duties” of his office to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

Last month, Austin spent two weeks at Walter Reed being treated for complications related to his prostate cancer surgery.

After initially keeping his hospital visit a secret from top administration officials, including President Joe Biden, the White House national security adviser, the secretary of state and senior officials in the Pentagon, Austin came under heavy fire for a lack of transparency about his medical condition, the New York Times reported.

Austin, a retired four-star Army general and former commander of the United States Central Command, has served in the military for more than 40 years.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Pentagon, news release, Feb. 11, 2024; NBC News