Health Concerns Spread as Pope Francis Spends Night in Hospital for ‘Respiratory Infection’

Pope Francis
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

ROME — Pope Francis spent the night in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital where he was rushed in an ambulance Wednesday afternoon after complaining of “breathing difficulties.”

According to reports from the Vatican Press Office, he is currently being treated for a “respiratory infection,” which will require several days in hospital.

The Vatican said the pontiff had spent a quiet night in the hospital’s 10th-floor suite reserved for him, after a chest CT scan and blood oxygen saturation tests reportedly ruled out serious problems.

According to the attending doctors, Francis’ health “does not give cause for concern.”

Local media said the news of the 86-year-old pope’s hospitalization caused a “shock” among cardinals and bishops, as the prelates scrambled to obtain reliable news from inside channels rather than trust the proverbially sunny official reports coming from the Vatican Press Office.

The Vatican curia finds itself “more disoriented and shocked than ever” with monsignors, bishops and cardinals glued to television screens and cell phones desperately trying to keep up on the latest news, Italy’s Il Messaggero reported.

The reason for the consternation, the article insists, is that nobody knows exactly what is wrong with the pope, of which “the official bulletin is the proof.”

The Vatican press office’s “brief, laconic, and almost mysterious text” sought to reassure readers that everything had been pre-planned, which was evidently untrue from the start, since he immediately had to revise his busy schedule to cancel a number of important meetings.

Vatican News asserted that Francis is undergoing “medical check-ups in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital,” which were “previously scheduled.”

Francis’ “breathing difficulties” reportedly extend to “chest pain,” leading some to suspect possible cardiac complications.

At the moment it is appears highly unlikely that the pope will be able to celebrate the customary Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square and it is, at this point, very unlikely that the Pope will even be able to take part in the public celebrations of Holy Week.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.