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Pentagon: US Defense Chief Lloyd Austin Admitted to Critical Care Unit


Washington, United States: On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been admitted to the critical care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of a bladder issue, according to a statement from his doctors. The decision for supportive care and close monitoring followed a series of tests and evaluations.

This development comes in the wake of recent revelations that the 70-year-old defense secretary had previously kept hospital stays secret, and he did not immediately inform President Joe Biden about a cancer diagnosis, drawing criticism, especially given the ongoing challenges in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Lloyd Austin had undergone treatment for prostate cancer in December and faced complications from the procedure, leading to his absence from the public eye. Similar circumstances occurred in January. The latest hospitalization, however, was publicly disclosed approximately two hours after he was admitted on Sunday afternoon. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks assumed the functions and duties of the defense chief.

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder stated that it is currently unclear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized. The doctors' statement, attributed to Dr. John Maddox and Dr. Gregory Chesnut of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, noted that the bladder issue is not expected to affect Austin's anticipated full recovery, and his cancer prognosis remains excellent.

This incident raises concerns about transparency regarding the health of high-ranking officials, with the previous undisclosed hospitalizations fueling criticism. The timely public notification this time seeks to address transparency issues, and the assurance of a positive outlook for Austin's health aims to alleviate concerns about his ongoing battle with cancer. The statement emphasizes the medical team's commitment to Austin's well-being and recovery.


Feb. 12, 2024 5 p.m. 2287

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