Pope Francis will be hospitalized for several days after a planned surgery to repair a hernia that is causing him “recurrent, painful and worsening” symptoms.
The Vatican announced plans for the surgery and recovery from the laparotomy on Wednesday.
This is the latest in a series of ailments that the 86-year-old has experienced in recent years, which included a March hospitalization for bronchitis, a fever that caused him to cancel appointments in May, knee troubles that have caused him to use a wheelchair, and surgery to remove half of his colon in 2021.
Among his other health issues have been chronic sciatica pain, a surgery in 2019 to treat a cataract, and removal of part of one lung after severe pneumonia when he was young, CNN reported.
Medical sources have said the hernia surgery is likely related to his previous colon surgery, CNN reported.
After his March hospitalization, Pope Francis joked that he was “still alive.”
Although Pope Francis said in an interview with Spanish daily ABC in December that he wrote a letter of resignation after he was named pope in 2013, in case of permanent medical incapacity, there is no “vice pope,” CNN reported.
Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is the Vatican’s secretary of state, can handle routine daily management in Francis’ absence, but can’t appoint bishops, CNN reported.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has more on hernias.
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