US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has returned to hospital, a month after being criticized for failing to disclose health problems. He was in critical care for an "emergent bladder issue" and transferred his duties to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks. However, his doctors said on Monday that they anticipated he would be able to resume "normal duties" on Tuesday.
Austin underwent surgery in December for prostate cancer. He suffered severe complications and had to return to hospital. He apologized for not informing officials at the White House, including President Joe Biden. He said his first instinct was to "keep it private."
Austin's doctors believe this latest ailment will not affect his recovery from cancer. Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder said the defense secretary "continues to be eager" to perform his duties. Still, Austin has canceled a trip this week to Brussels where he had been scheduled to discuss support for Ukraine and meet with NATO defense ministers.
Some Republican lawmakers say Austin should have been fired for his secrecy, calling it a "dereliction of duty."
He has agreed to testify about the situation later this month before the House Armed Services Committee.