US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized again
He cancels NATO trip
By TOI Desk Report February 13, 2024 Update on : February 13, 2024
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has cancelled his trip to Brussels to meet with NATO ministers after being hospitalized with complications from prostate cancer.
Lloyd Austin, 70, was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday afternoon following symptoms of an “emergent bladder issue, reports Aljazeera online.
He has since transferred the duties of his office to office to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, according to the Pentagon.
Pentagon Press Secretary Maj Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House, and Congress have been notified in this regard.
Austin was hospitalized as of Sunday evening, the Pentagon said.
The announcement came just weeks after Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December and hospitalized on December 22 for a related procedure.
Doctors in a statement on Monday said the US defense secretary underwent nonsurgical procedures under general anaesthesia to address the bladder issue.
His doctors said in a statement that a prolonged hospital stay is not anticipated and they anticipate the secretary will be able to resume his normal duties tomorrow.
The statement said the current bladder issue is not expected to change his predicted full recovery and his cancer prognosis remains excellent.
Moreover, Austin was scheduled to travel to Brussels on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group to coordinate military aid for Kyiv.
Seeking anonymity, two US defence officials told The AP news agency that the meeting will now be held virtually.
After the Ukraine meeting, he was supposed to attend a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels.
President Joe Biden has no concerns about whether Austin can serve after his latest hospitalization, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.
The recent hospitalisation was announced publicly soon after he was taken to the military medical centre.