Pope Francis, aged 86, began a period of recovery on Thursday following a hernia surgery, which raised concerns about his health. According to the Vatican, the Pope had a peaceful night and managed to rest for an extended period. The Vatican further stated that he is generally in good condition, conscious, and breathing without assistance. The medical team attending to him reported that he is on a water diet, and his vital signs are stable. The Vatican also mentioned that the Pope personally expressed gratitude over the phone to a mother whose child he had baptized, thanking her for a poster she sent him, wishing him a speedy recovery. The Holy See Press Office’s director, Matteo Bruni, relayed this information.
The Pope’s surgery, which lasted three hours, took place at Gemelli hospital in Rome on Wednesday. Reports indicate that he was in good spirits upon waking up. The hernia, located on the scar from a previous surgery, had been causing discomfort for the Argentine pontiff, as explained by Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the surgeon who operated on him. During the procedure, the abdominal wall was repaired using a surgical mesh. All scheduled papal audiences have been canceled until June 18 to allow the Pope ample time to recuperate.
The Vatican stated that the Pope will remain in the hospital for “several days,” without specifying a precise duration. Dr. Alfieri mentioned that the typical recovery time for such an operation is between five and seven days, but factors such as the Pope’s age and his previous illness in March, when he was hospitalized for a respiratory infection, may impact his recovery period. Dr. Andrea Mazzari, an Italian gastrosurgeon, mentioned that for older individuals, complete recovery can take anywhere from eight to ten days.