Defense Secretary Back at Walter Reed for Medical Issue

( – Barely a month after a previous hospitalization raised concerns about transparency at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was once again hospitalized for health complications, this time for symptoms indicating a possible “emergent bladder issue.”

According to the Pentagon’s press secretary, around 2:20 pm on Sunday, February 11th, Austin was transported and admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The press secretary, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, also confirmed that this time, Department of Defense officials, the White House, and Congress were all notified of the development.

Ryder also confirmed that the Defense Secretary brought “unclassified and classified communications systems” to the hospital, which were “necessary” for him to continue performing his duties. Although the Pentagon said Austin would maintain his post, they would give updates on his condition. Around 7:30 pm, the Pentagon announced that the Defense Secretary transferred his duties around 5 pm to Kathleen Hicks, the Deputy Defense Secretary.

Dr. Gregory Chesnut and Dr. John Maddox of the critical care unit said that the Defense Secretary was admitted to the unit for more “supportive care and close monitoring” following “a series of tests and evaluations” and that it’s still unclear how long he will remain there. The Pentagon said they anticipate Austin will make a “full recovery” and be able to “resume his normal duties” on Tuesday, February 13th, although he remains hospitalized.

The doctors said that Austin’s bladder issue would most likely not change the trajectory of his recovery and that the Defense Secretary’s “cancer prognosis remains excellent.”

The hospital admission is Austin’s second trip this year so far. Last month, he was transported for an extended stay related to complications from his prostate cancer treatment. The two-week stay caused a controversy after Pentagon officials, Congress, and President Joe Biden weren’t notified about the hospitalization until three days after Austin was admitted.

After the incident, many called for Austin to be reprimanded, including former President Donald Trump, who said the Defense Secretary should be “fired immediately” for unprofessional conduct.

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