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Pope Francis, 86, Hospitalized as He Undergoes Surprise Intestinal Surgery

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Jun. 7 2023, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

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Pope Francis was hospitalized after an urgent intestinal surgery, RadarOnline.com has learned.

The 86-year-old underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a hernia in his abdominal wall. It was the latest health scare since Pope Francis had a portion of his colon removed two years ago.

Upon confirming the procedure, The Vatican shared that the head of the Catholic church was in recovery.

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Pope Francis apologized after allegedly using the same homophobic slur while defending the Catholic Church's ban on gay priests during a private discussion with Italian bishops last month.

For three hours on Wednesday, Pope Francis was under general anesthesia at the Gemelli hospital in Rome, Italy. As the pope, who has been celebrated for his liberal leadership, recovered from the medial procedure, all papal services were canceled through June 18.

While hernia operations were not typically conducted under emergency circumstances, the decision to operate on Pope Francis was promptly called only a day after he underwent testing at the hospital.

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Pope Francis suffered from "painful and worsening" discomfort in the area where his abdominal wall was repaired. The location was near a previous scar believed to be from his 2021 colon surgery.

According to the Associated Press, medical experts explained that the development of a hernia in same location was common, especially after a previous operation.

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While common, experts did not exactly sugarcoat the severity that a post-op complication, like a hernia, presented.

A major concern with a patient developing a hernia was that a portion of intestines was at risk for bulging through the hernia tear — and became trapped in the abdominal wall, causing further issues.

"When the intestines are trapped, the blood supply to the bowel is compromised. And if you don’t take care of it, the bowel will die, and you will have gangrenous intestines," explained Dr. Walter Longo of Yale University.

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Pope Francis repeated a gay slur just two weeks after apologizing for using the same term.

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Dr. Longo also addressed concern that questioned Pope Francis' ability to recovery — and effectively lead his 1.3 billion parishioners worldwide.

"There’s the risk of going through surgery, operating on a fragile individual, but if he can get through it, he will be fine," Longo said of Francis.

Unlike other governments, Pope Francis remained the head of the Catholic Church even under anesthesia.

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