Pope Francis visits hospital for check-up
The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis was reportedly in a Rome hospital for a medical check-up Tuesday, just over two months after he was hospitalised with bronchitis.
It was gathered that the 86-year-old pontiff arrived at the Gemelli hospital’s geriatric unit at 10:40 am (0840 GMT) according to ANSA and AGI news agencies.
It was said neither the Vatican nor the hospital was immediately able to confirm the news to newsmen, but Tuesday’s check-up was a planned one, the Repubblica newspaper said, citing a Vatican source.
Francis was forced to take a day off at the end of last month with a fever, which the Vatican secretary of state blamed on tiredness.
When Francis was hospitalised at the end of March the Vatican initially said in a one-line statement that he had gone into the Gemelli for health checks that were previously scheduled.
It later emerged that he had been rushed in after suffering breathing difficulties.
He was diagnosed with bronchitis and stayed in hospital for three nights, before returning to the Vatican to preside over Easter services.
Asked how he felt, he quipped with a big smile, “I am still alive!”
Francis, who has been the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics for a decade, has suffered increasing health issues over the past year.
He has persistent pain in his right knee as well as sciatica, and his hospital stay for bronchitis sparked widespread concern.
It also fuelled speculation over his future.
Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, who died in December, quit over failing health in 2013.