Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have been scheduled to resume his official duties on Tuesday following a medical procedure to address a bladder issue, as announced by doctors from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday. Austin’s hospitalization on Sunday marked the second occurrence of complications stemming from a procedure to treat prostate cancer in December.
In a statement released by the Pentagon, doctors confirmed that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III underwent non-surgical procedures under general anesthesia to manage his bladder issue. They expressed confidence in his successful recovery, foreseeing no prolonged hospital stay and projecting his return to duties on Tuesday. The medical team reiterated Austin’s favorable cancer prognosis despite the current health challenge.
Notification of Austin’s hospitalization was promptly conveyed to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House, and Congress. While Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder indicated that there had been no direct communication between Austin and President Joe Biden following the hospitalization, the White House affirmed its continued confidence in Austin’s capability to fulfill his duties.
Austin’s decision to cancel his scheduled trip to Brussels this week for NATO meetings and discussions on military aid for Ukraine underscores the impact of his hospitalization on official engagements. The meeting in Brussels will now be conducted virtually, with Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks assuming Austin’s responsibilities in his absence.
Following his admission to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday afternoon, Austin transferred his authorities to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, relinquishing his duties temporarily. While it remains unclear how long Austin will remain hospitalized, medical experts have reiterated their expectation of his full recovery from the current health setback.
Austin’s recent health challenges, stemming from his prostate cancer diagnosis in December, have prompted scrutiny over the handling of his medical information and subsequent hospitalizations. Despite this, his doctors maintain an optimistic outlook on his recovery, affirming that Austin’s proactive approach to medical care has positioned him well for a favorable outcome.