Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Returns to Walter Reed Medical Center

By Hamodia Staff

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaking on Jan. 23, 2024 from his home in Great Falls, Va. while recuperating at home from complications from cancer treatments. (Department of Defense via AP)

In a press release from the Department of Defense, Pentagon press secretary Major General Pat Ryder announced that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in connection with an emergent bladder issue.

In December 2023, during a routine physical exam, Secretary Austin was diagnosed with cancer, and on December 22 he entered the hospital for a procedure.

On January 1, 2024, Secretary Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with complications from the December 22 procedure, including nausea with severe abdominal, hip, and leg pain. Initial evaluation revealed a urinary tract infection.

At the time, notice was not given to the White House, which resulted in a national debate concerning how he handled the health emergency.

In today’s incident, Press Secretary Ryder stressed that the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been notified, and the White House and Congress have been notified as well.

In addition, the press release mentioned that Secretary Austin is retaining all his duties and functions at this time, and the Deputy Secretary is prepared to assume those duties if required.

Secretary Austin was accompanied with the necessary communication systems to carry out classified and unclassified duties.

In a second statement released on Sunday night, Ryder added that Austin transferred his duties and functions to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks about 4:55 p.m.

Austin was scheduled to depart Tuesday for Brussels to hold a meeting of the Ukraine contact group, which he established in 2022 to coordinate military support for Kyiv after Russia’s invasion. After that, Austin was scheduled to attend a regular meeting of NATO defense ministers. It was not immediately clear if this hospitalization would change those plans.

Reporting by wire services.

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