.- The Vatican this morning released a much anticipated statement on the condition of Pope John Paul II who underwent tracheotomy surgery last night during his second visit to a Rome hospital this month. Holy See Press Office Director, Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a statement to journalists this morning saying, "The Holy Father spent a night of tranquil rest”, and that "This morning he ate breakfast with a good appetite.”
He added that, "The post-operative situation continues regularly”, and that the Pope “is breathing on his own and [his] cardio-circulatory conditions remain good.”
Navarro-Valls continued, "Upon the advice of his doctors, the Pope must not speak for several days so as to favor the recovery of the functions of the larynx. "A new medical bulletin is not foreseen until next Monday, February 28 at 12:30 p.m."
At a 12:30pm, press conference today, Dr. Navarro-Valls told journalists, "I wish to review the circumstances prior to the Holy Father's admittance yesterday to the hospital.”
"From the moment that the Pope left the hospital on February 10,” he said, “he had no fever. This allowed him to undertake his normal activity: Mass in the morning, 'ad limina' audiences, receiving his collaborators, etc.”
“Certainly, there is not now - nor was there ever - any bronchial-pulmonary infection--Naturally, he followed a normal diet.
"Rather, as I said in my communique yesterday, there were 'new episodes of acute respiratory insufficiency, caused by a pre-existing functional restriction of the larynx'. The Pope was watched over in his apartment, in case the need arose, by a doctor specialized in reanimation and by Dr. Camaioni, whom I mentioned yesterday."
"The tracheotomy that the Pope underwent yesterday”, Navarro-Valls continued, “was called an 'elective tracheotomy': this means that it was not an emergency procedure. As we said yesterday, it was a question of 'assuring adequate breathing for the patient and to favor the resolution of the larynx pathology'.”
He reported that the Pope “is now breathing better, feels notable relief and does not need assistance in breathing - from a machine or otherwise."
In answer to questions from the gathered journalists, the press office director stressed that the Pope did not have a fever either yesterday or today. He added that Pope John Paul had his "usual" breakfast of coffee with milk, several small cookies and yogurt, and "he ate it all."
Regarding the possibility of the Pope presiding at this Sunday’s Angelus, Navarro-Valls added that he would be speaking to the Pope's secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and to his doctors to see what could be arranged for the Angelus prayer and reflections and would let the media know in a timely fashion.
In answer to a journalist who asked how the Pope communicates, he said, "It is rather difficult to explain. What I can say is that when he went back to his room, the anesthesia was very light, given the light surgery that he had, and he made a gesture saying he wanted to write.”
And he wrote, jokingly, 'What have they done to me? But right afterwards he wrote (his motto): 'Totus tuus' (I am all yours)."
Last evening Navarro-Valls, made a declaration on the condition of Pope John Paul II, which stated that, "The flu syndrome, which was the reason behind the Pope's admittance this morning to Gemelli Polyclinic, in recent days was complicated by new episodes of acute respiratory insufficiency, caused by a pre-existing functional restriction of the larynx.”
This clinical picture pointed to an elective tracheotomy to assure adequate breathing for the patient and to favor the resolution of the larynx pathology.”
"The Holy Father,” Navarro-Valls assured, “duly informed, gave his consent”.
He continued that, "The procedure, which began at 8:20 p.m. and ended at 8:50 p.m., was successfully completed. The immediate post-operative situation is regular.”
He also added that, "The Holy Father is spending the night in his hospital room.”