US Defence Secy Austin hospitalised, transfers powers to deputy

Washington: US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalised again on Sunday to address a bladder issue as he continues to recover from prostate cancer and has transferred authorities to his deputy, the Pentagon said.

Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December and continues to deal with complications from his treatment.

At about 2:20 pm Sunday, he was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre “to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue”, Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.

While Austin initially intended to retain the “functions and duties of his office”, at about 5 pm Sunday he transferred those authorities to Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks. As of Sunday evening, he remained hospitalised.

A statement from Walter Reed medical officials late Sunday said Austin was admitted into the critical care unit for supportive care and close monitoring.

Dr. John Maddox, the trauma medical director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, director of the Centre for Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Centre, said while it was unclear at this time how long

Austin will remain hospitalised, “the current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery.”

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was notified, as well as the White House and Congress.

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