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Defense Secretary Austin Hospitalized Again for Bladder Issue, Transfers Duties to Deputy Secretary Hicks

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized once more, this time for symptoms indicating an urgent bladder issue, as confirmed by a Pentagon spokesman. In response, Austin has transferred the responsibilities of his office to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. The Pentagon’s press secretary, Major General Pat Ryder, conveyed the recent developments in a statement on Thursday evening.

Late on Sunday night, doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Dr. John Maddox and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, shared that Austin was admitted to the critical care unit following tests and evaluations for an emergent bladder issue. It remains uncertain how long Austin will remain hospitalized. Notably, this current health concern is not anticipated to hinder his overall recovery, with his canonical prostate cancer prognosis sustaining its positive outlook.

Earlier last year, Austin underwent a minimally invasive surgical procedure for prostate cancer, which later precipitated complications such as a urinary tract infection and serious intestinal issues. Despite being hospitalized again on January 1, the White House was not informed until three days later, sparking significant scrutiny and criticism.

Austin candidly acknowledged his lapse in informing President Joe Biden promptly about his health challenges, expressing regret for not disclosing his diagnosis sooner. Biden, in response, acknowledged the oversight while affirming his continued confidence in Austin’s leadership. The journey of transparency regarding Austin’s health challenges has been a subject of public interest and introspection within the Department of Defense.

As investigations and internal reviews persist, the handling of Austin’s health disclosures remains under intense scrutiny. Amidst these developments, Austin’s focus on his recovery, leadership, and communication with key stakeholders, including President Biden, remains paramount.

Live coverage and analysis on this unfolding situation will continue as further updates are provided.

Rachel Adams

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