US Defence Chief Admitted To Hospital Due To Medical Complications

Adoga Stephen By Adoga Stephen - Editor-In-Chief
3 Min Read

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized this week because of complications from a medical procedure, according to the Pentagon.

This comes at a time when the United States is dealing with an escalating crisis in the Middle East. Austin was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 1st due to complications arising from a recent elective medical procedure.

The Pentagon Press Secretary, Major General Pat Ryder, released a statement but did not disclose any specifics about the complications or how long Austin will remain in the hospital. “He is recovering well and is expecting to resume his full duties today,” Ryder said.

The Defense Department had not previously acknowledged Austin’s hospitalization, causing the Pentagon Press Association to criticize Friday’s disclosure.

In a letter to the Pentagon press secretary, the news association expressed “significant concerns,” saying that delaying the announcement for days until “late on a Friday evening is an outrage.”

“The public has a right to know when US Cabinet members are hospitalized, under anesthesia or when duties are delegated as a result of any medical procedure,” said the letter from the association, made up of journalists that cover the Pentagon.

The secretary’s hospitalization comes as tensions in the Middle East rise as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict, with Iran-backed rebels in Yemen assaulting shipping routes and others in Iraq and Syria attacking US soldiers with rockets and drones.

The US carried out a strike in Baghdad on Thursday that killed an Iran-backed commander whom the military suspected of participation in assaults on American soldiers, alarming the Iraqi government.

“At all times, the deputy secretary of defense (Kathleen Hicks) was prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the secretary, if required,” Ryder said.

A Defense Department spokesperson later told AFP that the deputy secretary “is automatically authorized to perform the duties of the secretary if he is unable to perform them,” and that “she did make some routine decisions on his behalf this week.”

The Baghdad strike was known to Austin, according to the spokeswoman, who said that the secretary and US President Joe Biden had already authorized the action.

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By Adoga Stephen Editor-In-Chief
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Stephen studied Mass Communication at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu (now Lagos State University of Science and Technology), where he acquired requisite training for the practice of journalism. He loves the media, and his interest mostly lies in print medium, where his creative writing skill makes him a perfect fit.