Pope Francis discharged from hospital: After a successful abdominal surgery, Pope Francis on Friday was discharged from the Rome hospital where he was admitted nine days earlier for his hernia operation and removal of painful scarring. Speaking to the media, the hospital's surgeon said the pontiff is now “better than before” the hospitalization.
86-year-old Pope left through Gemelli Polyclinic’s main exit in a wheelchair, smiling, waving and saying “thanks” to a crowd of well-wishers, then stood up so he could get into the small Vatican car awaiting him. In the brief distance before he could reach the white Fiat 500, reporters thrust microphones practically at his face, and the pontiff seemed to bat them away, good-naturedly.
'The Pope is better than before'
“The pope is well. He’s better than before. Following the surgery, Francis will be a 'strong pope', Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the surgeon who did the three-hour operation told reporters.
Hours after the surgery, Alfieri said that the scarring, which had resulted from previous abdominal surgeries, had been increasingly causing the pope pain. There was also risk of an intestinal blockage, if adhesions, or scar tissue, weren’t removed, according to the doctors.
No complications occurred during the surgery or while the pope was convalescing in Gemelli’s 10th-floor apartment reserved exclusively for the hospitalization of pontiffs, according to the pope’s medical staff.
Pope’s audiences canceled till June 18
Right after the surgery, the Vatican said all of the pope’s audiences would be canceled till June 18. Among the high-profile appointments Francis is expected to have next week at the Vatican are audiences with the presidents of Cuba and Brazil, although the meetings haven’t been officially announced yet by the Vatican.
In just under two years, Francis had been hospitalized three times at Gemelli Polyclinic. In July 2021, he underwent surgery to remove a 33-centimeter (13-inch) section of his bowel removed because of a narrowing of his intestinal. That, as well as abdominal surgeries years back in his native Argentina before he became pontiff, had contributed to the painful scarring, according to Alfieri. Then in early spring of this year, Francis was back in the hospital to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment for bronchitis, an illness Francis later said caused him pain and fever.
As a young man in his native Argentina, Francis had a portion of one lung removed following infection. The latest hospitalization came just as Francis seemed to be walking better, with the aid of a cane, following months of often using a wheelchair because of a painful knee problem. He also has suffered from sciatica, a painful inflammation of a nerve that runs down from back to leg.
(With AP inputs)