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Pope had a good 1st night at hospital


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Francis at the general audience on Wednesday, March 29

I.Media - Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/30/23

86-year-old Pope Francis was admitted to Gemelli Hospital on Wednesday after he was found to be suffering from a respiratory infection.

“The Pope had a good night,” a Vatican source assured on March 30, 2023, the day after Pope Francis was hospitalized at the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome. The 86-year-old Pontiff is suffering from a “respiratory infection”; Covid-19 has been ruled out.

Pope Francis spent a first night at the Gemelli hospital in Rome after being admitted Wednesday not long after the general audience.

Matteo Bruni, the director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the report later in this morning:

“His Holiness Pope Francis rested well overnight. The clinical picture is progressively improving and he is continuing his planned treatment. This morning after having breakfast, he read some newspapers and resumed work. Before lunch he went to the Little Chapel of the private apartment, where he gathered in prayer and received the Eucharist.”

Days of difficulties

Last night, Bruni had explained: “In recent days, Pope Francis has complained of some respiratory difficulties.”

While the Vatican has assured that his trip to the hospital was previously scheduled, after detecting the infection it appears that several appointments of Pope Francis had to be canceled in the afternoon of March 29. This morning, two audiences with the head of the Catholic Church were scheduled at the Vatican but they will not take place.

Pope Francis is helped get up the popemobile car as he leaves
Visibly showing pain, Pope Francis is aided in the popemobile transfer at the general audience of March 29.

Chest pains?

The Argentinean journalist Elisabetta Piqué, considered to have good sources in the Vatican, reported yesterday in the columns of La Nacion, that Francis had chest pains.

She reports from her sources that on his return to Casa Santa Marta after the general audience in St. Peter’s Square — where he seemed to be feeling fine, except for the pain in his knee — the Pope began to feel “chest pains.” His personal doctor, Massimiliano Strappetti, advised him to go immediately to the Gemelli Hospital, where he was taken by ambulance.

Health history

This is the second hospitalization of the Argentinean pope in 10 years of pontificate. It was in the same hospital that he underwent colon surgery and was hospitalized for 10 days in July 2021.

Piqué notes that in the book “The Health of Popes” (2021) by Nelson Castro, Pope Francis says that in 2004, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had a heart problem, a “pre-infarction.” But after being hospitalized for a few days then, he has had no further heart issues.

Another medical event from further back in the Pope’s history is also notable.

Pope Francis, 86, had part of his right lung removed when he had severe pneumonia as a youth, at age 20.

The Holy Father shared something of that experience in a piece for the New York Times on Nov. 26, 2020, in the heart of the pandemic.

I remember the date: Aug. 13, 1957. I got taken to a hospital by a prefect who realized mine was not the kind of flu you treat with aspirin. Straightaway they took a liter and a half of water out of my lungs, and I remained there fighting for my life. The following November they operated to take out the upper right lobe of one of the lungs. I have some sense of how people with Covid-19 feel as they struggle to breathe on a ventilator.

He has recounted how on that occasion, a savvy nurse saved his life.

Pope Francis
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