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Updated January 8th, 2024 at 17:20 IST

Pentagon unveils new details about Austin's ‘secret’ hospitalisation, delay in informing Biden

In the statement released to the press, Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, said that Austin was experiencing severe pain.

Digital Desk
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington,
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, | Image:AP
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Pentagon on Sunday unveiled new details regarding the ‘secret’ hospitalisation of the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. In its update, the US military said that Austin had a medical procedure Dec. 22. He then went home a day later and was admitted to intensive care Jan. 1, according to the new details revealed by the Pentagon.

In the statement released to the press, Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, said that Austin was experiencing severe pain. He had to be admitted to the intensive care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. US defense secretary was rushed to ICU "due to his medical needs, but then remained in that location in part due to hospital space considerations and privacy,” Ryder added. The latter did not clearly state the exact medical procedure or what actually happened to Austin.

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US defence secretary Austin, on Saturday, told the members of the public that he takes “full responsibility” for secrecy that surrounded his sudden hospitalisation as well as informing US President Joe Biden in accordance with the law. Austin was rushed to the hospital amid his Middle East missions for a “medical procedure” but the news was not officially revealed to the White House by the US military headquarter Pentagon until later. Austin was under a week-long hospitalisation for a still-unspecified condition during a crucial time when tensions have been brewing in the Middle East region due to the ongoing Israel Hamas war. 

‘I recognise I could have done a better job’: Austin

The 70 year old was admitted on New Year’s Day to Walter Reed national military medical center. Pentagon said, that Austin faced “complications following a recent elective medical procedure.” The US defence department kept his medical condition and hospitalisation a secret for over five days, according to the AMerian broadcasters. Key details about why Austin was rushed to medical facility as well as the condition for which he was being treated were kept confidential. 

Austin had lost consciousness over the past week and there is still no certainty when the US defense secretary would be discharged. “I recognise I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better,” Austin said in a written statement. “But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure,” he added.

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Published January 8th, 2024 at 17:19 IST

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