Defense Secretary’s Cause of Hospitalization Revealed

Defense Secretary Reveals Cause of Hospitalization

( – On December 5, headlines exploded after news outlets learned that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III had been secretly hospitalized earlier that week. Later that day, Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder issued a brief statement acknowledging that medical officials had admitted the 70-year-old retired general to Walter Reed National Medical Center after he developed complications related to a previous “elective medical procedure.” Ryder claimed that Austin was always prepared to perform his duties as Defense secretary “if required.”

The Pentagon and officials from Walter Reed recently revealed the exact cause of Austin’s recent hospitalization.

Reason Behind Secretary Austin’s Hospitalization

On January 9, the Defense Department issued a press release detailing the events leading up to Austin’s hospitalization. The statement advised that doctors directed him to check into Walter Reed during recovery from complications related to a December 22 surgical procedure to treat prostate cancer. Medical personnel had detected the disease following a routine screening examination earlier that month. It was reported that the hospitalization after the surgery was due to a urinary tract infection.

Likewise, Ryder discussed Austin’s condition earlier that day during a routine press briefing. He confirmed that Austin was continuing his recovery and remained in “good spirits.” He also advised reporters that the defense secretary remained in close contact with senior staff members and had “full access to required security communications capabilities.”

Officials from Walter Reed released a statement about Austin’s condition. Trauma Medical Director Dr. John Maddox and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, head of the Prostate Disease Research Center, advised that medical officials had detected the secretary’s condition “early, and his prognosis [was] excellent.” They also noted that Austin’s recovery had “progressed steadily” throughout his hospitalization.

It remains unclear when Austin’s doctors plan to discharge him.

Lack of Transparency

Media outlets and news organizations spoke out about the unusual lack of transparency regarding Austin’s hospitalization shortly after the news broke. For instance, on January 5, Fox News reported that the board of directors for the Pentagon Press Association sent a letter about the oversight to Ryder and Chris Meagher, the assistant to the secretary of Defense for public affairs. The panel criticized Defense Department officials for notifying the public on Friday evening about Austin’s hospitalization several days earlier, calling the situation “an outrage.”

As it turned out, Defense Department officials also failed to notify the White House about Austin’s condition. On January 9, The New York Times reported that administration officials were blind-sided when they found out from media sources that Austin had been diagnosed with cancer weeks ago. The Times also reported that the secretary failed to notify President Joe Biden or his staff that he had undergone surgery to treat his condition under general anesthesia a few days before Christmas.

Biden aides confirmed that the president didn’t plan on firing Austin over the controversy. However, White House Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients did order a review of notification procedures. He also distributed a memo to cabinet secretaries directing them to advise him and the Office of Cabinet Affairs when they cannot perform their assigned duties.

Copyright 2024,