US defence secretary resumes duties after undergoing medical procedure

25 May 2024, 08:04

US defence secretary
US Kenya. Picture: PA

Lloyd Austin temporarily transferred power to his deputy while he was in hospital.

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has resumed duties after undergoing a medical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on Friday, officials said.

Mr Austin is continuing to deal with bladder issues that arose in December following his treatment for prostate cancer, Pentagon press secretary Maj Gen Pat Ryder said.

The procedure was successful, elective and minimally invasive, “is not related to his cancer diagnosis and has had no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis”, Maj Gen Ryder added.

Mr Austin transferred authority to deputy secretary of defence Kathleen Hicks for about two-and-a-half hours while he was indisposed, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon chief later returned home after the procedure.

Lloyd Austin
Mr Austin was previously treated for prostate cancer (AP)

“No changes in his official schedule are anticipated at this time, to include his participation in scheduled Memorial Day events,” Maj Gen Ryder said.

Mr Austin, 70, has had ongoing health issues since undergoing surgery to address a prostate cancer diagnosis.

He spent two weeks in hospital following complications from a prostatectomy. Mr Austin faced criticism at the time for not immediately informing President Joe Biden or US congress of either his diagnosis or hospital admission.

Mr Austin was taken back to Walter Reed in February for a bladder issue, admitted to intensive care for a second time and underwent a non-surgical procedure under general anaesthesia at the time.

The Pentagon has notified the White House and congress, Maj Gen Ryder said.

By Press Association

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