The Pentagon says that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been readmitted to the hospital following a bladder issue that has developed during his recovery from prostate cancer.
Austin was brought to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday afternoon because of an urgent bladder issue, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement. Austin’s deputy will assume his authority and responsibilities while he remains under medical care, according to the Associated Press.
Last month, The Dallas Express reported that the defense secretary had spent 24 days hospitalized at Walter Reed for surgery to treat his prostate cancer. Notably, during this previous hospitalization, Austin’s seeming disappearance prompted concerns about transfer of power protocols not being followed at the upper echelons of the Defense Department.
In fact, the White House and other high-ranking security officials were not immediately notified that Austin had been admitted to the hospital. This contrasts with Austin’s hospitalization over the weekend, which the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House, and Congress were all informed about.
On Sunday, Austin was initially expected to retain his powers and authority, but at 5 p.m., they were transferred to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. While Austin has been back to the hospital several times for follow-ups, his latest admittance was the first unscheduled visit since his surgery.
According to officials at Walter Reed, Austin was admitted into the critical care unit. Dr. John Maddox, the trauma medical director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, director of the Center for Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Center, said they do not expect the bladder issue to affect the trajectory of the defense secretary’s full recovery, per the Associated Press.