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US defence secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalised again with ’emergent bladder issue’

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WASHINGTON: US defense secretary Lloyd Austin, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December, has been hospitalized once again due to an emergent bladder issue, according to a statement by the Pentagon. Austin was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday afternoon by his security detail. Initially, he was expected to continue with his responsibilities, but later in the day, he transferred his authorities to deputy secretary of defense Kathleen Hicks.As of Sunday evening, Austin remained hospitalized, said Pentagon Press Secretary Maj Gen Pat Ryder. The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, as well as the White House and Congress, have been notified about the situation. Austin had all the necessary communication systems with him during his transfer to the hospital to ensure that he could perform his duties.
Austin was supposed to travel to Brussels on Tuesday for a meeting of the Ukraine contact group, which he established in 2022 to coordinate military support for Kyiv after Russia’s invasion. He also had plans to attend a regular meeting of NATO defense ministers. It is uncertain whether this hospitalization will affect those plans.
In December, Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent a procedure called a prostatectomy on December 22. However, he experienced complications and was admitted to the intensive care unit at Walter Reed on January 1. After staying at Walter Reed until January 15, he continued to recover and work from home, eventually returning to the Pentagon on January 29. His doctors have stated that his prognosis against the cancer is excellent, and no further treatments are required.
Since his initial hospitalization, Austin has been periodically visiting Walter Reed for follow-up appointments. However, this current trip is the first unscheduled visit due to ongoing complications from his cancer treatments. It is worth noting that Austin did not disclose his cancer diagnosis or initial hospitalization to President Joe Biden, Congress, or his deputy defense secretary for several weeks. The secrecy surrounding this matter is now the subject of an inspector general investigation and a Pentagon internal review. Austin has previously stated that he did not instruct his staff to keep his hospitalization a secret.

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