Pope Francis at Gemelli: ‘He has a respiratory infection’

The sudden hospitalization of Pope Francis at the Gemelli Polyclinic, where he arrived in an ambulance for “a respiratory infection”. “In recent days, Pope Francis has complained of some breathing difficulties and this afternoon he went to the A. Gemelli Polyclinic to carry out some medical checks”, announced the director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni in the evening. “The outcome of the same showed a respiratory infection (excluding the Covid 19 infection) which will require a few days of appropriate hospital medical therapy”. “Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for your closeness and prayer”, he added.

The Pontiff had been seen in the morning very serene at the general audience – apart from the well-known walking difficulties due to knee pain -, go around with the ‘popemobile’ together with the now customary five children on board, keep his catechesis animatedly, at the end joke and smile in the ‘hand kiss’ and in the photo group with the bishops. Only he appeared tired when he was lifted from the wheelchair to get on the popemobile that took him to Santa Marta, where he allegedly suffered the illness that led to his hospitalization. Then only a few hours later, completely unexpectedly, the announcement of 16.09 to journalists again by spokesman Matteo Bruni: “The Holy Father has been to Gemelli for some previously scheduled checks“.

The Pope at Gemelli for ‘scheduled checks’

The news immediately went around the world, with the memory also of that July 4, 2021 when always at Gemelli Francesco had undergone colon surgery due to diverticular stenosis. The tom-tam of hypotheses also started immediately, with only one evidence in the first hours: those “previously scheduled checks” soon appeared as an attempt not to spread excessive alarmism. In fact, there was very little planned in the transport of the Pope to the Gemelli, if it is true that a planned interview with the presenter Lorena Bianchetti for “In the image of him” had to be canceled at the last moment.

Meanwhile, it was beginning to emerge that the staff closest to Francesco – including the security device – had been mobilized to spend the night at the University Hospital. It was also learned that all the Pope’s audiences scheduled for tomorrow and Friday have been cancelled. And from circles of the Holy See it transpired that “space has been made in the agenda so that the checks can continue for as long as necessary”. Certainly, Francesco remained hospitalized in the tenth floor apartment, so-called “of the Popes”, which he already used for the ten-day hospitalization related to the colon operation, and previously used several times also by John Paul II. In the late afternoon, therefore, it was learned from medical sources that all the tests that Bergoglio had to undergo had already been completed. In particular, the chest CT scan, which gave a negative result (and this element was evaluated with general relief by the entourage), while the oxygen saturation in the blood would be monitored, which is fine anyway. There would be no heart problems and the necessary respiratory tests would have been done. The situation, according to the doctors, would not be of particular concern. Tests were also done to rule out more serious problems.

Now the Pope will stay at the Gemelli under therapy for the necessary time, even if Holy Week is approaching, with all the pastoral commitments, even onerous ones. An alternative plan has already been made in the Vatican for the celebrations of the Palms and the Easter Triduum. Although the “respiratory infection” does not give excessive concern, even in an 86-year-old patient like Francesco, account is taken of the resection of a part of the lung that Bergoglio underwent when he was a seminarian in Argentina for pneumonia. However, it has been ascertained that the Pope, in addition to not having Covid, does not have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pathologies that can affect the respiratory system for which the tests to which he was subjected are carried out.

Source: Ansa

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