The U.S. Secretary of Defense cancels his trip to Brussels after hospitalization for a bladder issue


U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, canceled the trip he had planned for this week to Brussels after being hospitalized on Sunday for a bladder issue, Pentagon sources confirmed to EFE on Monday.

Austin was scheduled to travel to the Belgian capital on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he was supposed to participate in a new meeting of the Contact Group for the Defense of Ukraine, and his agenda for the week also included the NATO ministerial meeting, with a press conference on Thursday.

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However, on Sunday, he had to be admitted to the intensive care unit at Walter Reed Military Hospital, on the outskirts of Washington, to address a bladder problem, and it is currently unknown how long he will be hospitalized.

Lloyd, aged 70, is battling prostate cancer and underwent a prostatectomy on December 22.

Although he was discharged, on the night of January 1, he returned to the medical center due to a urinary tract infection resulting from the operation and was admitted to the intensive care unit. He left the hospital again on January 15.

The Department of Defense spokesperson, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, announced on Sunday that Austin's "functions and duties" had been transferred to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

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His hospitalization for prostate cancer sparked a huge controversy, as neither Austin nor his team informed President Joe Biden of the situation until January 4, three days after being admitted, and the Pentagon did not issue a press release until January 5.

Opposition figures denounced that during those days, there was a power vacuum at the helm of the Pentagon at a critical moment when the Gaza conflict threatened to escalate regionally in the Middle East.

According to the statement, the prognosis for his recovery from prostate cancer "remains excellent," and the bladder issue experienced now is not expected to affect that situation.