Pope Francis leaves hospital after treatment for bronchitis

ROME — Pope Francis was discharged from the hospital Saturday where he was treated for bronchitis.

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Francis, 86, was hospitalized Wednesday at Gemelli Polyclinic after he was having some issues with breathing, The Associated Press reported.

Francis was given antibiotics intravenously, the Vatican said, according to the AP.

The Vatican said that Francis responded well to the antibiotics, according to the BBC.

Francis left the hospital through a side entrance; however, his car had stopped at the main entrance. Francis opened the door himself, got out and had a cane ready to assist, the AP reported. After he chatted with reporters, he got back inside the car and headed to St. Mary Major Basilica, which is a Rome landmark. He was eventually driven into the Vatican, where he wished people a happy Easter through the window.

“I wasn’t frightened, I’m still alive,” Francis told reporters outside of the hospital as he was leaving, according to the BBC.

His hospital stay comes ahead of one of the busiest weeks in the Christian calendar to mark Easter known as Holy Week. It’s filled with events and services that can expect a lot from the Pope. Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said Friday that the Pope is expecting to be involved in Palm Sunday, according to the BBC.

The Pope is also expected to participate in an outdoor Easter Mass on April 9. According to the AP, a Vatican cardinal will be at the altar to celebrate the two Masses, which is a new practice due to Francis’ knee problems.

When Francis was younger, he had part of his lung removed. That left him “vulnerable to any respiratory illness,” the AP said. In July 2021 he spent 10 days in the hospital following intestinal surgery for a bowel narrowing.