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Pope Francis leaves Rome hospital 9 days after operation

Pope Francis on Friday was discharged from the Rome hospital where he had abdominal surgery nine days earlier to repair a hernia and remove painful scarring, with his surgeon saying the pontiff is now "better than before" the hospitalization.

Surgeon says Francis is 'better than before' following surgery to repair a hernia

An older man in a white robe waves from the passenger seat of a car.

Pope Francis on Friday was discharged from the Rome hospital where he had abdominal surgery nine days earlier to repair a hernia and remove painful scarring, with his surgeon saying the pontiff is now "better than before" the hospitalization.

Francis, 86, left through Gemelli Polyclinic's main exit in a wheelchair, smiling and waving and saying "thanks" to a crowd of well-wishers, then stood up so he could get into the small Vatican car awaiting him. In the brief distance before he could reach the white Fiat 500, reporters thrust microphones practically at his face, and the pontiff seemed to bat them away, good-naturedly.

"The Pope is well. He's better than before,'' Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the surgeon who did the three-hour operation on June 7 told reporters as the Pope was driven away.

Following the surgery, Francis will be a "strong Pope,'' said Alfieri, who along with the crowd surged toward the exiting pontiff.

Hours after the surgery, Alfieri said that the scarring, which had resulted from previous abdominal surgeries, had been increasingly causing the Pope pain. There was also risk of an intestinal blockage if adhesions, or scar tissue, weren't removed, according to the doctors.

An older man in a white robe and in a wheelchair faces a large group of reporters holding cameras and microphones.

No complications occurred during the surgery or while Francis was convalescing in Gemelli's 10th-floor apartment reserved exclusively for hospitalization of pontiffs, according to the Pope's medical staff.

Trips planned to Portugal and Mongolia

Right after the surgery, the Vatican said all of the Pope's audiences would be cancelled through June 18. Among the high-profile appointments Francis is expected to have next week at the Vatican are audiences with the presidents of Cuba and Brazil, although the meetings haven't been officially announced yet by the Vatican.

Commitments that have officially been announced include pilgrimages to Portugal in early August for a Catholic youth jamboree and a trip to Mongolia beginning on Aug. 31, a first-ever visit by a pontiff to that Asian country.

In just under two years, Francis had been hospitalized three times at Gemelli Polyclinic. In July 2021, he underwent surgery to remove a 33-centimetre section of his large intestine. He had suffered what the Vatican said was a severe inflammation and narrowing of the colon. That, as well as abdominal surgeries years back in his native Argentina before he became pontiff, had contributed to the painful scarring, according to Alfieri.

Then in early spring of this year, Francis was back in the hospital to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment for bronchitis, an illness Francis later said caused him pain and fever.

As a young man, Francis had a portion of one lung removed following infection.

The latest hospitalization came just as Francis seemed to be walking better, with the aid of a cane, following months of often using a wheelchair because of a painful knee problem. He also has suffered from sciatica, a painful inflammation of a nerve that runs down from back to leg.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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