Pope Francis in hospital for surgery on restricted intestine

Francis cheerfully greeted members of the public at St Peter’s Square earlier in day

Members of the media set up outside the Gemelli hospital in Rome, Italy, on Sunday. Pope Francis has entered the hospital for a scheduled surgery. Photograph: Fabio Frustaci/EPA

Members of the media set up outside the Gemelli hospital in Rome, Italy, on Sunday. Pope Francis has entered the hospital for a scheduled surgery. Photograph: Fabio Frustaci/EPA

 

Pope Francis has gone to hospital for scheduled surgery to be carried out on a restriction of the large intestine.

A brief announcement from the Vatican on Sunday afternoon did not say when the stenosis surgery would be performed but said there would be an announcement when the surgery is complete.

Three hours earlier, Francis had cheerfully greeted the public at St Peter’s Square in keeping with a Sunday tradition, and told them he will make visits to Hungary and Slovakia in September.

The 84-year-old will have the surgery at Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic.

The Vatican said the pope had been diagnosed with “symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon”, a narrowing in the large intestine.

Francis is in generally good health, but did have part of one lung removed as a young man. He also suffers from sciatica, occasionally having painful bouts of the condition that involves a nerve affecting the lower back and leg.

He had a particularly demanding set of appointments last week, including celebrating a Mass on Tuesday to mark the Catholic feast day honouring saints Peter and Paul, and later in the week presiding at a special prayer service for Lebanon.

On June 28th, he had a long private audience at the Vatican with US secretary of state Antony Blinken.

Throughout all those engagements, Francis appeared to be in good spirits.

Gemelli doctors have performed surgery before on papal patients, including on John Paul II, who had a benign tumour in his colon removed in 1992. – Associated Press