ROME (AP) — The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis is “in good condition, alert” and breathing on his own, a day after he underwent a three-hour operation that involved removing half his colon. Francis, 84, is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, a Catholic hospital, for about seven days “barring complications,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said. The brief medical bulletin contained the first details the Vatican released, coming more than 12 hours after the end of Sunday’s surgery. The procedure was necessitated by what the Holy See said was diverticular stenosis or narrowing the pope’s sigmoid portion of the large intestine.
“His Holy Father is in good, general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously,” Bruni said in a written statement. “The operation for the diverticular stenosis, performed during the evening of July 4, involved a left hemicolectomy and lasted for about three hours,” Bruni said. That procedure generally entails removing the left side of the colon and attaching the remaining parts of the large intestine. But the Vatican didn’t elaborate. Francis was spending his first morning convalescing in a Rome hospital following the surgery on the left side of his large intestine.
Before Monday’s statement, the Vatican had given scant details about the operation.
Earlier, an Italian cardinal told reporters he had been informed that Francis was doing OK post-operatively.
“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.