Pope Francis: ‘breathing isn’t good’ due to post-surgery anesthesia effects

The abdominal surgery Pope Francis underwent more than two weeks ago continues to take its toll, with the pontiff complaining of breathing issues.

Francis, 86, opted against delivering a speech Thursday to charity workers, who instead received a written address.

“I’m still under the effect of anesthesia,” the pope shared Thursday, according to Vatican News. “My breathing isn’t good.”

Francis underwent a three-hour surgery on June 7 to address issues including a hernia. He left A. Gemelli University Hospital in a wheelchair last Friday after nine days, telling media members at the time that he was “still alive.”

Two days after being discharged, Francis made his regular Sunday address in Vatican City last weekend in front of about 15,000 people.

“This human and spiritual closeness for me was a great help and comfort,” Francis told the crowd at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. “Thanks to all, thanks to you, thanks from the heart.”

The operation was Francis’ second abdominal surgery since July 2021. He similarly cited lingering effects of anesthesia after that procedure.

The pope was also hospitalized in late March with bronchitis and spent three days at Gemelli Hospital. Francis’ June 7 hospitalization came hours after he attended a general audience at St. Peter’s Square.

“The surgery, decided upon over the past few days by the medical team assisting the Holy Father, became necessary due to an incisional laparocele (hernia) that is causing recurrent, painful and worsening sub-occlusive syndromes,” the Holy See said at the time.

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, who performed the abdominal surgery, told reporters last Friday that the pope was doing “well.”

“He’s better than before,” Alfieri said.

With News Wire Services