Vatican City, Feb 1, 2005 / 22:00 pm
This morning Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a statement saying that the condition of John Paul II, who was hospitalized last evening due to flu complications, had improved overnight.
In the statement to journalists this morning, Navarro-Valls said that, "During the night, respiratory assistance therapy was continued which allowed for a stabilization of the clinical picture. Cardio-respiratory and metabolic parameters are currently within normal range.”
Thus the diagnosis of an acute laryngeal tracheitis with episodes of laryngeal-spasms, which I communicated last evening, is confirmed.”
"During the night the Holy Father rested for several hours”, he said.
He continued that the “Holy Father's condition has been monitored by Prof. Rodolfo Proietti, the director of the emergency department."
Speaking from the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, Navarro-Valls noted that Pope John Paul, after resting fairly well during the night, celebrated Mass from his hospital bed at 10:15 this morning with his secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and even had a light breakfast "and some coffee."
His fever is "very, very slight." He said that last evening's hurried admission to the hospital was "a precautionary measure" given that the 84-year old Pope had difficulty breathing. He told the press that John Paul II was transported to Gemelli by Vatican ambulance at approximately 10:50 p.m.
Navarro-Valls, who is also a medical doctor, denied reports that the Pope had lost consciousness, had a CAT scan, or underwent a tracheotomy.
The Vatican spokesman said that the content of this morning's statement was coordinated with the Pope's personal physician, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti. He added that no further medical bulletins are expected today.
Navarro-Valls left the hospital in late morning, about an hour after the Pope's physician had arrived. The spokesman said, "I am going home, the situation is calm. There is no reason for alarm." He added that "a sign that the Holy Father's situation is not especially worrisome is that his personal doctor arrived" only in mid-morning.
This is the ninth time the Holy Father has been admitted to a hospital during his pontificate: Two of those occasions - July 1993 and August 1996 - were only for a few hours to undergo a CAT scan.
The Pope’s previous visits to the hospital include:
1981: May 13, admitted to Gemelli Hospital after being shot in St. Peter's Square, undergoes a six-hour operation.
1981: June 20, Pope is readmitted to Gemelli and undergoes a second surgery on August 5th.
1992: July 15, surgery for benign tumor in colon.
1993: July 2, undergoes CAT scan as a follow-up to 1992 surgery; in Gemelli for several hours in the evening.
1993: November 11, in Gemelli polyclinic following fracture of his right shoulder.
1994: April 29, admitted to Gemelli following a fall the previous evening during which he broke his femur.
1996: August 14, at Regina Apostolorum Clinic in Albano, undergoes a CAT scan.
1996: October 8, undergoes an appendectomy at Gemelli Hospital.