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Pope returns to Vatican after hospital tests following bronchitis bout

Francis went to Rome’s Gemelli hospital for checks, according to reports.


Pope Francis has returned to the Vatican after undergoing tests in hospital, witnesses and news reports said.

The move comes two months after he was taken to hospital with an acute case of bronchitis.

The ANSA news agency said Francis went to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Tuesday morning for checks.

Witnesses at the Vatican’s Perugino gate, one of the main entrances to the city state, told The Associated Press that Francis returned to the Vatican a short while later, and greeted guards as he usually does.

Francis, 86, spent three days at Rome’s Gemelli hospital in late March.

Hospital in Rome
A view of the Agostino Gemelli hospital in Rome (AP)

Initially, the Vatican said he had gone in for scheduled tests, but the pontiff later revealed he had felt pain in his chest and was rushed to the hospital where bronchitis was diagnosed.

He was put on intravenous antibiotics and was released April 1, quipping that he was “still alive”.

The Argentine pope had part of one lung removed when he was a young man. He also suffers from sciatica nerve pain and has been using a wheelchair and walker for over a year because of strained ligaments in his knee.

Francis has had a packed schedule of late, with multiple audiences each day.

The Vatican has recently confirmed a travel-filled August, when the Holy See and Italy are usually on holiday, with a four-day visit to Portugal in the first week of August and a similarly long trip to Mongolia starting August 31.

His next public appointment, if confirmed, would be his weekly general audience on Wednesday in St Peter’s Square.

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