According to the Vatican, Pope Francis is currently in stable condition, although he is still dealing with lung inflammation. This update comes as the Pope made a visit to Portugal for the XXXVII World Youth Day in Lisbon in August 2023, during which he met with university students from the Pontifical Catholic University.
In a communiqué sent by the Vatican on Thursday (29), it was stated that Pope Francis does not have a fever and his overall condition is stable. However, he continues to experience lung inflammation and respiratory difficulties. These health issues have unfortunately forced the Pope to postpone his trip to the United Arab Emirates where he was set to participate in the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.
Sources report that during his weekly audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis seemed offended and refrained from speaking. This could potentially be attributed to his health situation and the challenges he is facing due to his lung inflammation.
In an effort to combat the infection, the Pope is currently undergoing antibiotic treatment. This is not the first time Pope Francis has dealt with pulmonary issues. In fact, back in 2013, it was announced by the Vatican that he had a portion of his lung removed earlier in his life due to a respiratory illness.
The severity of his past lung problems is highlighted by an anecdote from his youth. At the age of 21, the future Pope Francis, then known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, experienced three days of intense sickness. He was teetering between life and death, beset by high fever and confusion. The doctors were perplexed as to what was happening to him. Eventually, it was diagnosed as a severe case of pneumonia, compounded by the presence of three cysts in his lungs. The disease was brought under control, but Bergoglio had to undergo surgery to remove the upper portion of his right lung.
Fast forward to the present, and the Pope recently spent three days at the Policlínica Gemelli, a renowned hospital in Rome, Italy, for the treatment of acute pneumonia. This occurred towards the end of March 2023, further highlighting the ongoing challenges he faces with his lung health.
The Vatican announced in June 2023 that Pope Francis underwent a three-hour abdominal surgery under general anesthesia. Fortunately, the surgery was successful and no complications were reported.
In recent years, Pope Francis has required additional support to manage his health. Since 2022, he has had a personal health assistant, a nurse, who constantly monitors his well-being. The Pope has been using a cane since May of the previous year due to right knee pain. In 2021, he spent ten days at the Gemelli hospital for coronary surgery, which later led to complications and his decision to forgo knee surgery.
Chronic musculoskeletal pain has been an ongoing issue for the Pope, limiting his mobility and requiring him to forego certain official ceremonies. In an interview with Argentine doctor and journalist Nelson Castro, Pope Francis disclosed that he has sought alternative treatments, including Chinese acupuncture, for his coastal pain while he was in Argentina. Additionally, he has dealt with gallbladder calculi and experienced a temporary cardiac problem in 2004 due to mild arterial stenosis.
Despite these health challenges, Pope Francis remains committed to his duties and continues to inspire individuals worldwide with his leadership and messages of peace and compassion. The faithful around the world join together in praying for his continued healing and well-being.