ROME — Pope Francis was spending his first morning convalescing on Monday in a Rome hospital following intestinal surgery under general anesthesia and reportedly doing well.
The Vatican has given scant details about the operation Sunday evening in Gemelli Polyclinic, a major Catholic hospital in the Italian capital, although it did say he responded “well” to the surgery.
An Italian cardinal told reporters he had been informed that the 84-year-old pope was doing well.
“Our prayer and our closeness are very great,” Cardinal Enrico Feroci said at Rome’s airport where he was catching a flight. The Italian news agency ANSA quoted him as saying that he had heard earlier in the morning from another cardinal, Angelo De Donatis, “and he told me that the pope is well.” De Donatis is the vicar of the Rome diocese.
Francis is staying in special, 10th floor suite that the hospital keeps available for use by a pontiff, after Pope John Paul II stayed there several times for various medical problems.
The pontiff is expected to be hospitalized for several days.
When the Vatican announced on Sunday afternoon that Francis had been admitted to hospital for a planned operation, it said that he needed surgery because he had developed a diverticular stenosis, or narrowing, of the sigmoid portion of the large intestine.
Without citing sources, Rome daily Il Messaggero reported that “complications” arose during the surgery. Without specifying what happened, the newspaper said that the surgeons, after starting to operate via laparoscopy, ended up having to do incisions.
Laparoscopy is a kind of surgical procedure often dubbed “keyhole surgery” since it allows the surgeon access to the inside of the abdomen without requiring large incisions. In the kind of surgery the Vatican said the pope was getting, laparoscopy is commonly used, experts have said.
Patients having laparoscopic surgery generally require shorter hospital stays.
Twice daily updates on Pope Francis’ condition were expected to be issued by the Vatican.
The Vatican said late Sunday that Francis responded well to the surgery on the lower part of his colon. But it didn’t say just what the surgery entailed or how long it lasted.
Doctors not connected to the pope’s hospitalization have said it is common to perform a re-sectioning of the affected part of the bowel in such cases.
Get-well messages continued to arrive for the pope. Italian Premier Mario Draghi’s office said the leader “expresses affectionate wishes for a rapid convalescence and quick healing.”
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