Pope in hospital with 'breathing difficulty'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Pope John Paul II spent a restful night after being rushed to hospital with breathing problems, Italian news reports said today.

Pope John Paul II spent a restful night after being rushed to hospital with breathing problems, Italian news reports said today.

"I'm going home, the situation is calm," papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters after spending about an hour at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic.

It was later announced that the 84-year-old pontiff would spend "a few more days" in the hospital.

The first sign of the Pope's illness came on Sunday, when he kept clearing his throat during a 20-minute appearance at his studio window, thrown wide open on one of Rome's most bone-chilling days in years so he could release a pair of doves symbolizing peace into St Peter's Square.

Security arrangements were among the tightest in memory at the hospital — a Catholic teaching institution about two miles from the Vatican.

TheVatican said that the Pope experienced a "larynx spasm crisis". The spasms are likely a complication from the respiratory illness the pope has had. It is possible his Parkinson's disease, which makes muscle control difficult, made it harder for him to breathe.

When he was elected pontiff in 1978, John Paul was a robust 58-year-old serving as archbishop of Krakow in his native Poland, where he played soccer, skied and kayaked as a youth. Less than three years later, he was shot by a Turkish gunman in the square.

Other serious medical problems requiring hospitalisation included a bowel tumor, described by doctors as benign and removed in 1992, intestinal problems which led to the 1996 removal of his appendix and a 1994 broken thigh bone, fractured in a fall in his bathroom.

Comments