According to a Pentagon spokeswoman, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was admitted to the hospital once more on Sunday, this time “for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue,” following two contentious hospital admissions that he had previously kept hidden.
After experiencing problems from his prostate cancer therapy on December 22, Austin essentially disappeared from the public view in late December and early January.
Initially, he kept the diagnosis and course of treatment a secret from President Joe Biden and other government officials.
This time, the public was informed about two hours after Austin was taken to the hospital on Sunday afternoon, according to a statement released by Defense Department press secretary Pat Ryder, who also stated that representatives from the White House, Congress, and the military had been informed.
Austin “was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue,” said Ryder.
He claimed at the time that he was still recovering, experiencing leg pain, and getting around the Pentagon on a golf cart.
The unspecified absences and the current hospital stay coincide with a worsening Middle East crisis for the United States, where forces stationed in Iraq and Syria are under constant attack from militants backed by Iran as a result of Washington’s unwavering support for Israel.
As Republican members of Congress refuse to approve new financing for military aid to Kyiv, the senior US defense officer is also a crucial figure in the Biden administration’s attempts to sustain backing for Ukraine’s struggle against Russian invasion.