Pope Francis ‘in good condition’ and ‘alert’ after hospital stay for intestinal surgery

·2-min read
Pope Francis (PA Archive)
Pope Francis (PA Archive)

Pope Francis is "in good condition, alert and breathing on his own" a day after he underwent a three-hour operation, which involved removing half his colon, the Vatican said.

The pope, 84, was suffering from “symptomatic diverticular stenosis” of the colon, a condition that can cause recurrent abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits.

That surgery involved removing the left side of the colon and attaching the remaining parts of the large intestine.

It was the first time Pope Francis has been admitted to hospital since his election in 2013.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni also said on Monday that Francis is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, a Catholic hospital, for about seven days "barring complications".

"His Holy Father is in good, general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously," Mr Bruni said in a written statement.

"The operation for the diverticular stenosis, performed during the evening of July 4, involved a left hemicolectomy and lasted for about three hours," Mr Bruni said.

Pope Francis is staying in a special, 10th-floor suite that the hospital keeps available for use by a pope after Pope John Paul II stayed there several times for various medical issues.

Earlier, an Italian cardinal told reporters he had been informed that Francis was doing OK post-operatively.

"Our prayer and our closeness are very great," Cardinal Enrico Feroci said at Rome’s airport where he was catching a flight.

The Italian news agency Ansa quoted him as saying that he had heard earlier in the morning from another cardinal, Angelo De Donatis, "and he told me that the pope is well".

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi’s office said the leader "expresses affectionate wishes for a rapid convalescence and quick healing".

It comes after the Argentine pontiff addressed thousands of visitors in St Peter’s Square.

During his Sunday blessing, the Pope announced that he would go to Slovakia in September after celebrating Mass in Budapest, Hungary.

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