Defense Secretary Hospitalized Again

( – Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was once again rushed to the hospital over the weekend suffering from what was described as an “emergent bladder issue,” CBS News reported.

In a statement released by the Pentagon Sunday afternoon, press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said the secretary was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by his protection detail at about 2:20 p.m. to be seen for symptoms of what appeared to be an “emergent bladder issue.”

According to Maj. Gen. Ryder, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, and the White House had been notified of the Secretary’s condition.

Doctors from Walter Reed said in a statement Sunday night that Secretary Austin had been admitted to critical care following a “series of tests and evaluations.” It was not clear at the time how long the secretary would remain hospitalized, however, doctors did not believe the bladder issue would alter his recovery from the prostate surgery he underwent in late December.

According to the statement, Austin’s cancer prognosis remained “excellent.”

While Maj. Gen. Ryder initially stated that the secretary would continue in his duties while hospitalized, in a subsequent statement Sunday evening, he said that the “functions and duties” of Secretary Austin’s office had been transferred to his second in command, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

The White House confirmed to CBS News on Sunday evening that the Pentagon had informed the president and National Security Council about the secretary’s hospitalization.

The Pentagon’s quick response in notifying the public of the secretary’s health comes after Secretary Austin came under scrutiny in January after he failed to inform the president, Congress, or his second-in-command until three days after he was rushed to the hospital in early January.

During a February 1 press conference at the Pentagon, the secretary apologized for keeping his hospitalization a secret and admitted that his office failed to “handle this right.”

Secretary Austin had been expected to take his first overseas trip since his January hospitalization to travel to Brussels this week to meet with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

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