Vatican: Pope Francis Undergoes Operation at Gemelli Hospital

June 08, 2023
Entrance to the Gemelli Hospital

On Wednesday, June 7, 2023, Pope Francis was hospitalized for abdominal surgery. The same morning he had again presided over the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square in the presence of thousands of faithful. As soon as the audience was over, he went to the hospital to be operated on in the afternoon.

After a feverish episode last week, the Pope had already gone to Gemelli hospital on Tuesday morning, June 6, to undergo examinations, the nature of which had not been revealed by the Vatican, but which, without doubt, were intended to decide the next day's operation.

The director of the Holy See's press room Matteo Bruni announced that the surgery would take place under general anesthesia. The nature of this operation is specific: it will consist of  a “laparotomy [opening of the abdomen] with abdominal plastic surgery and placement of a prosthesis [probably a net to reinforce the abdominal wall] to avoid a risk of intestinal occlusion.”

The press release thus specifies that “the operation, organized in recent days by the medical team assisting the Holy Father, has become necessary due to a laparocele [or abdominal hernia], which was causing recurrent, painful, and worsening sub-occlusive symptoms,” underlines Matteo Bruni.

The press release finally specified that the Pope “will spend several days in the hospital post-surgery to allow a normal and complete post-operative recovery.”

Pope Francis had been hospitalized at the end of March with infectious bronchitis. In July 2021, Pope Francis had spent ten days in this same Gemelli hospital for a major colon operation.

The Vatican said Wednesday evening that Pope Francis is out of surgery and that the abdominal operation he underwent “took place without complication.”

The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household has canceled all audiences Pope Francis was to hold until June 18, 2023 for health reasons.

Consequently, the Pope will not be able to participate in the World Meeting on Human Fraternity which is to take place on June 10 in St. Peter's Square. This meeting, which will see the presence of around thirty Nobel Prize winners, will be held, said the Fratelli Tutti foundation.