Health Care

Pope to be hospitalized for pulmonary infection

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Pope Francis waves to faithful at the end of the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ‘to the city and to the world’ ) Christmas’ day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022.

Pope Francis is being hospitalized for a few days for a pulmonary infection after having some difficulty breathing in recent days, the Vatican said Wednesday. 

Vatican News, the Holy See’s official news service, reported that he went to Gemelli Hospital in Rome for medical check-ups after experiencing “respiratory difficulties.” The results of testing showed that the pope has a respiratory infection, which is not COVID-19, that will require a few days of treatment in the hospital. 

“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” the outlet reported. 

Pope Francis presided over a general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning before his hospital trip. 

This is the first hospitalization for Francis since he spent 10 days in Gemelli in July 2021 for 13 inches of his colon to be removed. 

Pope Francis arrives for an audience with pilgrims from Rho diocese, in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, March 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Francis had part of a lung removed when he was young because of a respiratory infection, causing him to often speak in a whisper. 

His mobility has become increasingly limited recently. He has used a wheelchair because of strained ligaments in his right knee and a small knee fracture for more than a year, but he has said he is healing and been able to walk with a cane more often recently. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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