U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized due to post-surgery complications arising from his prostate cancer treatment, his doctors revealed on Tuesday.
What Happened: The news has caused a stir, particularly because President Joe Biden was kept in the dark about Austin’s condition until weeks after his hospitalization, sparking a debate on transparency within his administration, Politico reported.
Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December following routine screening. He underwent a “minimally invasive” operation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 22. However, due to post-operative issues, including nausea and acute pain in his abdomen, hip, and leg, he was readmitted to the hospital on Jan. 1.
In a surprising turn of events, it was revealed that the President was not informed about Austin’s diagnosis until Tuesday, several days after they had conversed over the phone. This lack of communication has raised questions about the Pentagon’s decision to withhold details about Austin’s health condition from senior members of the national security team, including Biden himself.
In light of the criticism over this lack of transparency, measures are being taken to reassess how responsibilities are delegated when Cabinet secretaries are incapacitated. An official update on Austin’s condition has also been made public. Despite the controversy, Austin’s doctors have stated that his recovery is proceeding well, although no specific date has been given for his discharge.
The management of Austin’s health crisis has provoked demands for accountability, with some Republicans proposing that the defense secretary be dismissed. To address these concerns, the White House and the Pentagon have initiated reviews to ensure that proper communication protocols are adhered to during emergencies.
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