Pope Francis hospitalized, receiving antibiotic treatment for viral bronchitis

March 30, 2023
Ben Marquis

Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, was reportedly hospitalized "for a few days" following a scheduled health checkup, according to the Daily Wire.

The 86-year-old pope went to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome on Wednesday for a routine checkup but was found to be suffering from breathing difficulties due to a respiratory infection and was directed to be hospitalized in order to rest and receive treatment.

Hospitalized but doing well

The Daily Wire reported that, per a statement from Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni, the pope would "require a few days of appropriate hospital medical therapy."

The spokesman added that "Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer," and that same message was tweeted out early Thursday morning by the pope's official Twitter account.

Later on Thursday, the Vatican News service provided an update from Bruni on the condition of Pope Francis and revealed that he had "spent the afternoon resting, praying, and seeing to some work."

It was further reported that he had been diagnosed with viral bronchitis and was being treated with an infusion of antibiotic therapy.

Those antibiotics "have resulted in a marked improvement in his state of health," per Bruni, and according to the doctors, "based on a foreseeable course, the Holy Father could be discharged in the coming days."

The spokesman further added later on Thursday that the pope "had breakfast, read some newspapers, and resumed work," as well as prayed and received the Eucharist in the hospital's private chapel.

History of health issues

The Associated Press reported that this was far from the first time that Pope Francis has had to deal with health issues and medical scares.

When he was a young man in Argentina, Francis had part of one of his lungs removed following a respiratory infection and, more recently, had a roughly 13-inch section of his colon removed in 2021.

He also spent much of 2022 in a wheelchair or using a cane due to strained ligaments and a fracture in his right knee, but due to a bad experience with general anesthesia during the colon surgery a year prior, has declined to have surgery to repair the problems.

And, on top of that, Francis acknowledged in a January interview that while the colon surgery had been successful and he was able to eat normally, the diverticulitis, or intestinal wall bulges, had unfortunately "returned."

Holy Week is upon us

The AP noted that all of the planned audiences for Pope Francis had been canceled through Friday, likely in anticipation of the upcoming "Holy Week" in which he will be expected to be involved in numerous activities.

That begins this weekend with Palm Sunday and continues through Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil before being capped off with Easter Sunday on April 9.

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