Pope Hospitalized Due To Flu Symptoms

Pope Francis was taken to a Rome hospital following the papal audience on February 28 to undergo diagnostic tests, the Associated Press reported.

The pope, who recently suffered from the flu, spent a short time at Gemelli Hospital for testing before returning to the Vatican. However, the Vatican gave no details about what kind of diagnostic tests the 87-year-old pontiff had or if they were related to his flu symptoms.

Earlier that day, the pope received a papal audience in the Vatican audience hall while in a wheelchair. Typically, the pontiff makes the short walk to his seat from his wheelchair but in recent weeks, he had been suffering from mild flu symptoms, making it difficult to even walk a short distance.

In his papal audience, the pope marked the anniversary of the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention that was ratified 25 years ago.

The pontiff also made appeals for peace in Ukraine and the Middle East and offered prayers for the victims of ongoing violence in Haiti and Burkina Faso.

Following the papal audience, Frances spent about an hour greeting those in the audience hall from his wheelchair. He stopped to bless babies, exchange gifts, and chat with the faithful before being whisked away to the hospital for tests.

The pope had previously canceled appointments from February 24 until February 26 due to his flu symptoms but did appear as usual on Sunday, February 25 to offer a blessing from the window above St. Peter’s Square.

While presiding over Ash Wednesday services earlier in the month, Pope Francis repeatedly coughed and chose not to join in the traditional procession that kicks off the Lenten season.

As a young man, the pope had part of a lung removed due to a respiratory infection. In 2021, the pontiff had a section of his colon removed following an intestinal inflammation. Since last year, Francis has been using a cane or wheelchair after suffering strained ligaments and a knee fracture that made standing and walking difficult.