Lloyd Austin Undergoes Procedure Related to Bladder Issue


Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III underwent a nonsurgical procedure on Friday night to address a bladder-related issue and during the hospitalization temporarily turned over duties to his deputy, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Around 6 p.m., Mr. Austin underwent “a successful, elective, and minimally invasive follow-up” procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maj. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.

“During that period, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks assumed the functions and duties of the secretary of defense,” the statement said.

Mr. Austin resumed his duties at 8:25 p.m. and returned home, General Ryder said. He added that Mr. Austin, a retired four-star Army general, was expected to participate in Memorial Day events scheduled on Monday.

It was the latest in a string of medical procedures for Mr. Austin in recent months, and his initial secrecy surrounding them has drawn scrutiny to both him and the Pentagon.

Mr. Austin and Ms. Hicks carried out the same temporary change of duties in early February when Mr. Austin underwent a nonsurgical procedure under general anesthesia to address a bladder issue.

On Dec. 22, Mr. Austin underwent a prostatectomy, the removal of all or part of the prostate gland, to treat prostate cancer. He was released after the surgery but returned a little over a week later with an infection. He was put in intensive care, and doctors said they drained excess abdominal fluid.

Mr. Austin was widely criticized for failing to immediately disclose his illness and absence to the White House, a breach of protocol that baffled officials across the government, including at the Pentagon.

He remained hospitalized for two weeks in January and returned to the Pentagon on Jan. 29. But on Feb. 11, he was back in the hospital with continuing bladder problems, which doctors have said are not related to Mr. Austin’s earlier cancer diagnosis. He was discharged two days later.

Since then, Mr. Austin has fully returned to his duties at the Pentagon and resumed traveling overseas. On Friday morning, Mr. Austin gave the commencement address to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and returned to the Pentagon in the afternoon to meet with Kenya’s president, William Ruto.

The Pentagon announced earlier on Friday that Mr. Austin would begin a trip next week to Singapore, Cambodia and France.



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