"At least this time they didn't hide it": Internet reacts as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is hospitalized again and in critical care unit

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized yet again on January 11 (Image via Facebook/Lloyd Austin)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized on February 11 (Image via Facebook/Lloyd Austin)

On Sunday, February 11, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was transported to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to an "emergent bladder issue," as per the Pentagon. Austin's duties were transferred over to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks after the news came to light. The defense secretary is currently in the critical care unit and it remains unknown when he is expected to be discharged.

Earlier this year, Austin was criticized for failing to disclose his prostate cancer diagnosis and information about his surgery in December until a few days after he was discharged from hospital. Netizens, who were earlier upset about Austin hiding his initial diagnosis took to X to react to the recent news as they wished him well

Netizens react to the news (Image via X/@LauraLoomer)
Netizens react to the news (Image via X/@LauraLoomer)

Netizens react as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is admitted into critical care unit for "close monitoring"

On February 11, Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder announced that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was transported to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by his security detail due to an "emergent bladder issue." The statement confirmed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House, and Congress had been notified about the same.

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In the U.S. Department of Defense's latest statement released on February 11, Dr. John Maddox and Dr. Gregory Chesnut from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center stated:

"Tonight, after a series of tests and evaluations, the Secretary was admitted into the critical care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for supportive care and close monitoring."

They added:

"At this time, it is not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized. The current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery. His cancer prognosis remains excellent."

Several netizens took to social media and hoped for Austin's speedy recovery. However, investigative journalist Laura Loomer shared a tweet calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. In response to Loomer's tweet, some netizens showed sympathy towards Austin, however, others agreed with her and believed that it was time for him to resign.


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's health history

Calls for the resignation began in January after many became critical of how Austin handled his diagnosis. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December during routine medical screenings. However, this information was reportedly not even revealed to the White House at the time, as per CBS News.

Austin underwent a prostatectomy on December 22 and transferred some of his authority to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks temporarily. However, yet again, the White House, senior staff, and Hicks were notified about the procedure.

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Lloyd Austin was discharged the very next day and continued his work as Defense Secretary from home. However, on the first day of the new year, Austin was once again transferred to Walter Reed due to severe pain and was admitted to the ICU. Once again, the White House and his staff were not notified.

The next day, Austin transferred some operational responsibilities to Hicks, who was on vacation at the time. Some of Austin's senior staff including Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder were notified of his hospitalization but the National Security Council, the White House, and Deputy Secretary Hicks were not notified about the same.

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A couple of days later on January 4, Hicks, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and President Joe Biden were notified about Lloyd Austin's condition.

The Pentagon then released a statement on January 5 stating that Lloyd Austin had been hospitalized due to complications that arose from a "recent elective medical procedure" without specifying any details. The very next day, Austin said in a statement:

"I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better."

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During the next couple of days, the Pentagon shared that Austin had been admitted to Walter Reed on December 22 and to the ICU on January 1. On January 9, the Pentagon released statements from doctors at the hospital revealing Austin's prostate cancer diagnosis and his December 22 surgery.

It revealed that Austin was admitted to the ICU on January 1 due to a UTI that arose from complications in the earlier surgery. The White House stated that the president was made aware of Austin's prostate cancer diagnosis on the same day. Later, on January 26, a statement from the doctors revealed that Austin's "prognosis is excellent."

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Edited by Adelle Fernandes