Living with Lung Inflammation: Pope Francis’ Health Journey

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According to the Vatican, Pope Francis is currently in stable condition despite ongoing lung inflammation. This news came after his visit to Portugal for the XXXVII World Youth Day in Lisbon in August 2023, where he met with university students from the Pontifical Catholic University. In a communiqué released on Thursday (29), the Vatican stated that the Pope does not have a fever but continues to experience respiratory difficulties due to lung inflammation.

Unfortunately, due to his health issues, Pope Francis had to postpone his trip to the United Arab Emirates to attend the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. This was a disappointment for the pontiff, who has been actively advocating for environmental conservation and action against climate change.

During his weekly audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis appeared to be upset and didn’t speak about his health condition. However, it was revealed that he is receiving antibiotic treatment to address the infection causing his lung inflammation.

This is not the first time Pope Francis has faced pulmonary issues. In 2013, the Vatican announced that he had undergone surgery to remove a portion of his lung due to a respiratory illness he had as a young man. At the age of 21, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, experienced a severe respiratory illness that left him fighting for his life. He had a high fever and was very sick, causing confusion among his doctors. Eventually, he was diagnosed with severe pneumonia and the presence of cysts in his lungs. Bergoglio underwent surgery to remove the upper part of his right lung to treat the condition successfully.

In recent months, Pope Francis has faced additional health challenges. In March 2023, he spent three days at the Policlínica Gemelli in Rome, Italy, receiving treatment for acute pneumonia. Then, in June 2023, he underwent a three-hour abdominal surgery under general anesthesia. Fortunately, there were no complications during the procedure.

To ensure his well-being, Pope Francis now has a personal health assistant, a nurse, who closely monitors his health. He 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 left him with some complications and led him to forgo knee surgery.

In a recent interview with Argentine doctor and journalist Nelson Castro, the pope disclosed additional health issues he has experienced. While in Argentina, he sought treatment for coastal pain through Chinese acupuncture and had gallbladder calculi. In 2004, he also experienced a temporary cardiac problem due to mild arterial stenosis.

Despite these health challenges, Pope Francis continues to carry out his papal duties and advocate for various causes, including addressing climate change, promoting peace and justice, and promoting interfaith dialogue. His resilience in the face of health difficulties serves as an inspiration to many. The Vatican and millions of individuals around the world send their prayers and support for the Pope’s health and well-being.