Under general anesthesia, the 86-year-old pontiff will undergo surgery due to the risk of intestinal obstruction, after being admitted to the Gemelli hospital in Rome on Wednesday, June 7. The Vatican reported that Pope Francis must remain in the medical center for several days.
In the midst of the intense travel calendar that was looming for his agenda this summer, Pope Francis underwent surgery again.
This is his second abdominal surgery in two years, after doctors removed part of his colon in an intervention he underwent in 2021.
The previous abdominal surgery was meant to treat a painful intestinal condition called diverticulitis, but earlier this year the condition returned and was affecting his weight, the pontiff said during an interview with the US news agency AP in January.
This time Francisco returns to the operating room to try to heal a hernia, possibly caused after the previous surgery, since it is a probable complication of an intestinal operation, the experts explain.
The pope suffered from a “recurring, painful and worsening” hernia, for which he would undergo a laparotomy, or open abdominal surgery, and a prosthesis would be used to reconstruct the abdominal wall, the Vatican said.
Given the age and fragility of the highest representative of the Catholic Church, the procedure would show that the doctors had no other alternative to resolve the new physical condition. The pope’s health care team had decided in recent days that surgery would be necessary, as the condition was causing painful intestinal occlusions.
“When the intestines become trapped, the blood supply to the intestine is compromised and if you don’t take care of it, the intestine will die and you will have gangrenous intestines,” explained Walter Longo, chief of colon and rectal surgery at the University School of Medicine. from Yale.
Francisco must remain hospitalized for “several days”
In a statement, the Holy See detailed that the Vatican leader is expected to remain “several days” at the Gemelli hospital in Rome, to which he was admitted on June 7, to allow “normal progress after the operation and recovery full of its functions”.
For some, the concern is latent because at his advanced age the pontiff will be treated under general anesthesia.
And this is the latest incident in a series of health problems that Francisco has experienced in recent years. It is his third hospitalization since in 2013 the Argentine religious was chosen by the cardinals as the first Latin American pope in history.
Longo pointed out that Francisco should be recovered after a few weeks, but stressed that due to his age and previous health situations, the pope is fragile. “There is a risk of having surgery, operating on a frail individual, but if you can get past it, he’ll be fine,” he said.
Francisco was treated for five days at the same hospital in late March for a lung infection and often uses a wheelchair or a cane to walk due to persistent pain in one knee.
Last year he opted not to have knee surgery because the general anesthesia from his colon operation had taken a toll on him.
Despite his health problems, the pontiff maintains a busy schedule, after the Vatican announced plans last Saturday for him to visit Mongolia on August 31, one of the most remote places he has ever traveled.
Before that, Francis is scheduled to visit Portugal from August 2 to 6, to attend World Youth Day, in Lisbon, and visit the Sanctuary of Fatima, according to the official Vatican schedule published on Tuesday, June 6.
With Reuters and AP
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