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Pope Francis to Undergo Abdominal Hernia Operation in Rome



Doctors give update on Pope's health following surgery

Pope Francis, the revered spiritual leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, is set to undergo a surgical procedure for an abdominal hernia at a hospital in Rome, as announced by the Vatican. The 86-year-old pontiff, who underwent colon surgery last year, has been experiencing worsening symptoms caused by the hernia, necessitating the need for medical intervention.

In an official statement, Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni confirmed that Pope Francis visited the Gemelli hospital in Rome on Tuesday for preliminary clinical tests ahead of the scheduled operation. Despite his health condition, the pope proceeded with his regular weekly general audience on Wednesday before making preparations for the surgery.

According to Bruni, the procedure, known as a laparotomy and abdominal wall surgery, will be performed under general anesthesia in the early afternoon. A laparotomy involves making a surgical incision into the abdominal cavity. Following the operation, Pope Francis is expected to remain at the hospital for several days to ensure a smooth recovery and complete restoration of normal bodily functions.

Over the past year, Pope Francis has faced several health challenges. In July 2021, he underwent surgery at Gemelli hospital to address diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets in the intestinal lining. After a ten-day hospital stay, he was discharged. Earlier this year, in March, the pope was admitted to the hospital for three nights due to bronchitis, which was effectively treated with antibiotics. Additionally, he has been grappling with persistent pain in his right knee and recurring sciatica.

The pope’s hospitalizations have often sparked concerns and speculation regarding his future. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made the unprecedented decision to resign in 2013 due to declining health. Pope Francis has been using a wheelchair for approximately a year due to ongoing knee pain that cannot be resolved through surgery.

In a recent interview with US Spanish-language network Telemundo in May, Pope Francis mentioned that his health had significantly improved. He expressed gratitude that he can now walk, albeit with occasional discomfort. Furthermore, he acknowledged that his bronchitis infection had been detected in time, averting a more severe condition.

Despite his health challenges, Pope Francis has continued to engage in extensive travel and fulfill his papal responsibilities. However, in July 2022, he recognized the necessity of slowing down and conserving his energy in order to effectively serve the Church. At that time, he also acknowledged the possibility of considering a resignation from his papal duties.

While Pope Francis emphasized in March that he has no immediate plans to step down, the question of his succession remains a subject of interest. Pope Benedict XVI, who passed away on December 31, 2022, at the age of 95, surprised the world when he announced his resignation in 2013, becoming the first pope in centuries to voluntarily relinquish the papacy.

As Pope Francis prepares for the hernia operation, Catholics worldwide and people of various faiths send their thoughts, prayers, and well wishes, hoping for a successful procedure and a swift recovery for the beloved pontiff.