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Vatican: Pope’s health ‘stable’; treatment continues as lung inflammation remains

Pope Francis greets pilgrims and poses for photos at the end of his general audience on Nov. 29, 2023. / Vatican Media

CNA Staff, Nov 29, 2023 / 15:58 pm (CNA).

The Vatican on Wednesday said Pope Francis’ health was stable as the Holy Father continues to receive treatment for ongoing lung inflammation stemming from a flu infection.

“The Holy Father’s condition is stable; he has no fever, but lung inflammation associated with respiratory distress remains,” the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“He continues antibiotic therapy,” the statement added.

Pope Francis has been struggling for several days with persistent symptoms following what the Vatican called a mild flu infection that developed last week.

The Vatican announced on Tuesday that it had canceled the pope’s planned trip to Dubai this week due to his continuing struggles with lung inflammation. Francis had been scheduled to travel to Dubai to deliver a speech at the COP28 climate conference.

The Vatican said on Monday that the Holy Father’s condition was “clearly improving,” with the pontiff in “good and stable” condition and without a fever.

The pope last week visited the Gemelli Isola Hospital in Rome after his flu diagnosis. During that visit, Francis underwent a CT scan to rule out the risk of “pulmonary complications,” the Holy See said at the time.

Francis, who turns 87 next month, has experienced a number of medical setbacks in recent years. He has been hospitalized on more than one occasion, most recently in June for abdominal surgery.

Part of the pope’s right lung was removed in a surgery in 1957 in Argentina before he began his novitiate with the Jesuits. Earlier this year, the pope was treated for bronchitis for several days, quipping on his April 1 release: “I’m still alive, you know.”

Though he continues to struggle with the symptoms from the flu, the pope has kept up a somewhat regular schedule at the Vatican this week, hosting a soccer team on Wednesday and appearing for his Wednesday audience (his prepared remarks, however, were read by a Vatican official), while the Holy Father also met with French abuse victims on Tuesday.

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