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Pope says he has serious bronchial infection

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VATICAN CITY — “As you can see, I am alive,” Pope Francis told a group of health care managers Nov. 30.

At the brief meeting with participants in a seminar on the ethics of health care management, the pope said he was suffering from a “bronchial condition. Thank God it was not pneumonia,” but he said it was a very serious bronchial infection.

“I no longer have a fever, but I am still on antibiotics and things like that,” he told the group.

He had canceled his appointments Nov. 25 because of “flu-like symptoms” and went that afternoon to a Rome hospital for a CT scan of his chest. In the following days, he canceled some appointments and had aides read his prepared texts at other events.

But, he said, “the doctor would not let me go to Dubai,” United Arab Emirates, Dec. 1-3 to speak at COP28, the U.N. climate conference. “The reason is that it is very hot there, and you go from heat to air conditioning,” he told the health care managers.

The most recent medical bulletin from the Vatican press office, issued late Nov. 29, said Pope Francis’ condition is “stable. He does not have a fever, but the pulmonary inflammation associated with respiratory difficulty persists. He is continuing antibiotic therapy.” He will be turning 87 on Dec. 17.

Pope Francis used the audience to thank medical professionals for what they do — “not only looking for medical, pharmacological solutions,” but also putting energy into preventative care so their patients stay healthy.

“I thank you for coming,” he told the group, “and forgive me for not being able to talk any more, but I do not have the energy.”

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