Pope has good night in hospital despite respiratory infection – Vatican

Further medical updates are expected later in the day.
Pope has good night in hospital despite respiratory infection – Vatican
Pope Francis is helped into his car at the end of the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 29, 2023. Pope Francis went to a Rome hospital on Wednesday for some previously scheduled tests, slipping out of the Vatican after his general audience and before the busy start of Holy Week this Sunday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis has spent a good first night in the hospital after being admitted for a respiratory infection, a Vatican official said.

Further medical updates are expected later in the day.

Francis was taken to Rome’s Gemelli hospital for tests on Wednesday afternoon after experiencing difficulty breathing in recent days.

The 86-year-old, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, does not have Covid-19 but will remain in the hospital for several days of treatment, the Vatican said.

Agostino Gemelli hospital in Rome (Andrew Medichini/AP)

His audiences were cancelled until the weekend.

Francis is scheduled to celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend, and it is not clear how his medical condition will affect the Vatican’s Holy Week observances, which include Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday on April 9.

His hospital admission was the first since Francis had 13in of colon removed and spent 10 days at Gemelli hospital in July 2021.

He said soon after the surgery that he had recovered fully and could eat normally, but in a January interview with the Associated Press, Francis said his diverticulosis, or bulges in the intestinal wall, had “returned”.

Before he was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, the Pope had appeared in relatively good form during his regular general audience, although he grimaced while getting in and out of the “popemobile”.

Francis has used a wheelchair for more than a year due to strained ligaments in his right knee and a small knee fracture, although he had recently been walking more with a cane.

He has said he resisted having surgery for the knee problems because he did not respond well to general anaesthesia during the 2021 intestinal surgery.

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