Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 7, 2005
Pope's condition stable after rush to hospital
By CINDY WOODEN
Catholic News Service
After being rushed to a Rome hospital for treatment to help him overcome breathing problems, Pope John Paul's condition stabilized Feb. 2 and he was able to concelebrate Mass from his hospital bed, the Vatican spokesman said.
"The holy father was able to rest for several hours during the night, he was able to sleep," Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters Feb. 2, about 12 hours after the pope was taken by ambulance to Rome's Gemelli Hospital.
A Vatican official close to the pope told Catholic News Service Feb. 2 that "everything was calm, there was no panic" in the Vatican when the pope experienced difficulty breathing.
"They took him to the hospital just to make him more comfortable," the official said. "He needs to rest for a few days in order to recover."
The official said no one close to the pope thought the illness would be fatal.
Navarro-Valls told reporters the doctors had confirmed "the diagnosis of acute laryngeal tracheitis with episodes of laryngeal spasms."
He said the pope's "cardiorespiratory and metabolic" functions "are within normal limits," although the pope did have a "slight fever" in the morning.
Beyond saying the pope received "respiratory assistance" upon arriving at the hospital, Navarro-Valls would not specify the treatment the pope was receiving.
When asked if the pope had to undergo a tracheotomy, when a hole is cut in the trachea to assist breathing, Navarro-Valls said, "absolutely not."
The spokesman said the pope did not lose consciousness when he was having trouble breathing Feb. 1, but obviously the episode "was sufficiently serious" that his personal physician, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, decided hospitalization was advisable.
Navarro-Valls confirmed that after checking the pope into the hospital and assisting with his care, Buzzonetti left Gemelli at about 1:30 a.m. Feb. 2 and returned to the pope's side at 6 a.m.
The spokesman said the pope was doing well enough at 10:15 a.m. to begin concelebrating Mass with his private secretaries, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and Msgr. Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki.
Later Feb. 2, Navarro-Valls told Vatican Radio the pope would remain in the hospital for a few more days.
A guard at the hospital, who said he had seen the pope arrive in the ambulance, told Catholic News Service Feb. 2, "he was not doing well," he looked "awful. Let us hope for the best."
Earlier, Navarro-Valls had said that the pope began showing symptoms of the flu Jan. 30 and cancelled his appointments for Jan. 31.
Then, Feb. 1 Navarro-Valls said the flu was continuing its natural progression, leading the pope to cancel his appointments for Feb. 1-2 as well.
Meeting reporters Feb. 2, the spokesman gave no indication of how long the pope was expected to remain in the hospital.
In his final public appearance before he was hospitalized, the pope appeared in his apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square to lead the Sunday noon Angelus Jan. 31. His voice was hoarse, but it did not stop him from greeting visitors in the square below.
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