In a statement Sunday night, a spokesman for the Holy See, Matteo Bruni, said that the 84-year-old Francisco received general anesthesia during surgery due to a narrowing of the large intestine.
The written statement, which arrived shortly before midnight, was noted for its paucity of medical details. Bruni did not say how long the surgery lasted, or how long the Pope was unconscious under anesthesia.
It was also not immediately clear how long Francis would stay at Rome’s Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic, a Catholic hospital, though he was expected to convalesce for a few days in a private suite in a 10th-floor apartment reserved for popes.
“The Holy Father, who was admitted to the A. Gemelli Polyclinic in the afternoon, underwent a surgical intervention planned for a diverticular in the afternoon
Stenosis of the sigmoid portion of the colon, Bruni said in the short written statement. “The Holy Father reacted well to the surgery performed under general anesthesia,” said the spokesman, noting that there was a surgical team of four people, plus four – a person from the anesthesiologist team.
A stenosis is an abnormal constriction or narrowing. The sigmoid portion of the large intestine extends from the end of the descending colon to the rectum. Gastroenterologists say that the sigmoid segment is a common location for diverticular stricture.
The lead surgeon was Dr. Sergio Alfieri, director of Gemelli’s digestive surgery department.
Among those present in the operating room was the official papal physician, whom Francis called earlier this year. The Pope’s previous doctor had contracted Covid-19 and died at Gemelli while hospitalized for cancer treatment.
It was an extraordinary end to a day that began publicly for Francis when, during his traditional Sunday appearance before the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, he cheerfully announced that he would go to Hungary and Slovakia in September.
The Pope did not mention his impending surgery, but headed to the hospital shortly after his appearance at the window. At the end of his public remarks from a window of the Apostolic Palace, Francis told the crowd: “And please don’t forget to pray for me.” Then he added, sounding casual, almost wistful: “Thanks, ciao.” A couple of hours after his admission, he reportedly arrived with little
under escort and without fanfare, the Vatican revealed that Francis had been diagnosed with a narrowing in the large intestine.
A week earlier, Francis had used his same Sunday appearance to ask the audience for special prayers for him, which may have been related to the planned surgery.
“I ask you to pray for the Pope, pray in a special way,” Francis had asked the faithful in the square on June 27. “The Pope needs your prayers,” he said, adding his thanks and saying “I know they will.” Do that. ”
A diverticulum is a bag-shaped bulge through the muscular wall of the intestine. When diverticula are inflamed, a common condition, especially in older people, sometimes part of the intestine can narrow and surgery may be required, according to gastroenterologists. Such surgery can be done under general anesthesia, possibly with laparoscopic surgery.
intervention. Sometimes the affected part of the intestine needs to be resected.
Francis is in good general health, but part of one lung was removed when he was young. He also suffers from sciatica, in which a nerve affects the lower back and leg, a painful condition that has sometimes forced him to skip scheduled appearances.
The pope had a particularly demanding series of appointments last week, including holding a mass on Tuesday to mark the day of the Catholic holiday honoring Saints Peter and Paul, and later in the week, presiding over a special prayer service for Lebanon. On June 28, he also had a lengthy private audience at the Vatican with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Throughout all those engagements, Francis seemed to be in a good mood.
Well-being wishes immediately began to arrive for Francis. Italian President Sergio Mattarella, as soon as he landed in Paris for a state visit to France, offered an “ affectionate thought ” on behalf of all Italians. Mattarella said he wished “ a good convalescence and even a faster recovery ” for the pope.
Gemelli’s doctors have operated on popes before, particularly on Pope John Paul II, who had what the Vatican said was a benign tumor in the colon removed by the Vatican in 1992. John Paul had several other surgeries performed in the hospital, even after being shot by a gunman in St. Peter’s Square in 1981.
After those surgeries, the Vatican and hospital officials gave detailed reports of the pope’s medical condition. John Paul also had several medical problems in his later years, including serious complications from Parkinson’s disease, and had numerous stays at Gemelli. At one point, the future St. John Paul II dubbed the hospital “ the third Vatican, ” in honor of Vatican City and the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo on the outskirts of Rome.