Pope Francis to leave hospital as soon as possible, no longer in wheelchair 

in July 13th, 2021

Pope Francis visits the children's cancer ward at the Gemelli hospital, in Rome, Italy July 13, 2021. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -Pope Francis is continuing his planned treatment and rehabilitation after intestinal surgery 10 days ago and will leave hospital as soon as possible, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

The Vatican's daily medical bulletin on the 84-year-old pope, who had part of his colon removed on July 4, also said he had met many patients during his stay at the Gemelli hospital but felt particularly close to "those who are bedridden and cannot return home".

It gave no further details on the pope's condition.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Vatican released five pictures of the pope during a visit earlier in the day to the children's cancer ward on the same floor as his suite.

They showed the pope seeming in good condition as he walked unassisted along the corridor of the ward, greeting children, parents and doctors. In pictures released two days ago, he was using a wheelchair when he visited patients.

The Vatican had said on Monday that he would stay in hospital a few days longer than the seven originally expected to "optimise his medical and rehabilitative therapy".

On Sunday he made his first public appearance since the surgery, standing for about 10 minutes while speaking from the balcony of his suite.

He has no commitments for the rest of the month apart from his Sunday blessing, though the Vatican is proceeding with plans for a papal trip to Slovakia and the Hungarian capital of Budapest in mid-September.

Scotland's bishops on Monday announced that the pope will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November, health permitting.