Rome: Pope Hospitalized With Respiratory Infection

March 31, 2023

The Vatican first cited scheduled exams at Gemelli Hospital to explain the Pope's hospitalization on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 29, 2023, after he appeared smiling at the morning General Audience.

However, the Pope had revealed some time earlier that he was still suffering from the after-effects of the anesthesia necessary for the complicated colon surgery he underwent in July 2021 at Gemelli Hospital for diverticulitis.

These after-effects had ruled out a knee operation which greatly troubles him to the point of limiting his movements, a difficulty which had forced the pope to cancel appointments in 2022 and to delay the trip to Africa, which he finally accomplished last February.

The communiqué from Matteo Bruni, the director of the Vatican Press Office, sent to journalists at the end of the day finally announced that “several days of hospital medical treatment” will be necessary.

The text specifies that “in recent days, Pope Francis complained of breathing difficulties and went this afternoon to the Gemelli hospital to undergo medical examination. The result of these examinations revealed a respiratory infection – which is not due to Covid-19 – and which will require appropriate treatment for a few days.”

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that, according to “hospital sources,” the Pope had been transported by ambulance for “heart problems” and “respiratory distress,” of which he had complained for a few days.

Still according to the same source, at the end of the audience, the Pope had felt a pain in his chest and his entourage immediately urged him to be hospitalized. A chest scan was performed at the hospital, which showed there was nothing to worry about.

The Vatican’s most recent update is that the Pope will be leaving the hospital this weekend.