US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has been admitted to the hospital once more due to symptoms related to an “emergent bladder issue,” the Pentagon announced.
This hospitalization follows less than a month after Austin’s previous secretive hospital stay in December, which stirred controversy and raised concerns about transparency surrounding his health.
According to Pentagon officials, the White House has been informed of Austin’s latest hospitalization, and he will continue to fulfill his duties while receiving medical care.
Late last year, Austin underwent surgery for prostate cancer, and he faced complications related to the procedure when he was readmitted to the hospital on New Year’s Day due to severe pain in his leg, hip, and abdomen. Subsequent evaluations revealed a urinary tract infection, leading to a hospital stay of more than two weeks.
The handling of Austin’s illness and hospitalizations has drawn scrutiny, as senior defence officials and the Biden administration were reportedly unaware of the severity of his condition until three days after his readmission in January. This lack of transparency prompted three separate investigations into the matter.
Austin is scheduled to testify before a Congressional committee on February 14 regarding his failure to inform President Biden and other top officials about his health issues.
In response to his latest hospitalization, both the Deputy Secretary of Defence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been notified. The Deputy Secretary stands ready to assume Austin’s duties if necessary, the Pentagon stated.