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Pope Francis Visits Rome Hospital for Tests After Flu Symptoms

Published February 29, 2024
4 months ago

Pope Francis has been temporarily admitted for diagnostic checks at Gemelli Hospital on Tiber Island, Rome, after displaying flu symptoms following his general audience on Wednesday, as confirmed by the Holy See. The nature of the tests has not been disclosed, emphasizing the privacy surrounding the health of the pontificate.

His arrival and departure from the hospital were conducted discreetly, with the Pope driven in a modest Fiat 500, adhering to his known preference for simplicity. This personal visit underscores the calm professional management of the Pope's healthcare and the Vatican's prudence in maintaining regular health surveillance for the 86-year-old leader of the Catholic Church.

At the Vatican earlier the same day, the Pope's physical weariness was palpable; an uncharacteristic contrast to his normal routine was his use of a wheelchair to reach the audience hall. Recent weeks had seen him walk to his seat, but with reports of mild flu, the change in his method of mobility signified a cautious approach by his healthcare team.

The Holy Father had, in fact, canceled some engagements in the last few days, yet he did not waver from delivering the Sunday Angelus blessing. This balance between maintaining his papal duties and health considerations reveals the Vatican's careful handling of his schedule amidst health challenges.

The Pope's declining health and adjustments in his participation in liturgical and public engagements spark memories of past health-related alterations. Notably, the same season two years prior showcased a similar scenario with his health when COVID-19 began impacting Italy, leading to several cancelations.

Francis, originally from Argentina, has had his share of serious health issues, including the removal of a portion of his lung in his youth and a surgical procedure on his colon in 2021. Mobility has been a struggle due to a knee injury, and he has been seen more frequently using supports like a wheelchair and cane.

Despite health concerns, the spiritual leader did not shy away from using his platform to address significant international issues. The pope marked the 25th anniversary of the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention, advocating for the victims of these devices and vocally deploring the continued violence of war.

His global perspective enfolded appeals for peace in regions fraught with conflict, including the Middle East, Ukraine, and prayers for the recent violence victims in Burkina Faso and Haiti. The pontiff maintains his role as a moral compass, guiding attention to areas of human suffering and political discord.

Following official proceedings, Pope Francis dedicated time to engage with the audience personally. This included a series of informal interactions such as blessing children and exchanging tokens of goodwill, spotlighting the personal rapport he fosters with the Catholic community and beyond.


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