Pope has operation after breaking wrist in fall in bath


POPE BENEDICT’S annual summer break at Les Combes, high in the Alps of the Valle d’Aosta region in northwestern Italy, was rudely interrupted yesterday when the pontiff had to be taken to hospital because of a broken right wrist.

Senior papal spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi quickly issued a statement saying the fracture was “light” and describing it as “nothing serious”.

The injury was sustained when Pope Benedict (82) slipped in the bath on Thursday night. When he complained of persistent pain yesterday morning he was taken to hospital in Aosta, some 14 kilometres away.

Following X-rays, it was decided to operate, with doctors applying two pins to the pope’s wrist in a short operation that required only a local anaesthetic.

He was reportedly in good humour throughout his day in hospital, apologising for the “fuss” he had inadvertently caused and waiting patiently for his turn in the operating theatre behind another patient who had to be rushed in for an emergency appendicitis operation.

Hospital spokesman Tiziano Trevisan said the pope’s operation had gone well, pointing out that a series of check-ups had found Benedict to be in “very good” overall health.

The comments would seem to confirm Vatican reports that the fall was due to a banal accident rather than to any sudden illness or fainting.

The pope is expected to stay in Valle d’Aosta until July 29th.