1 April 2023: Pope Francis was discharged from the hospital on Saturday after being treated for a respiratory infection. He joked with reporters and said: “I’m still alive you know”.
The 86-year-old pontiff had been admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Wednesday after experiencing difficulty breathing, but he responded well to an antibiotic treatment, according to his doctors. To show that he was in good health, Francis walked out of his car before leaving the hospital premises, using a cane to support himself.
He greeted some of the people who had gathered outside and spoke briefly to the journalists, confirming that he would lead the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter’s Square and give his usual weekly address to the faithful.
Sunday’s mass marks the beginning of a week of Easter celebrations and the Vatican later said that the pope would participate in those events, assisted by cardinals.
Before getting back into his car, Francis hugged a crying mother, whose young daughter had passed away overnight in the hospital, and then prayed with both the parents. He also signed the plaster cast of a young boy with a broken arm and waved from the window of his car as he drove away.
When asked by reporters if he had been scared during his hospital stay, the pope said: “No, scared no.” “In a hospital there is a lot of courage, lots of kindness for patients. You know sick people, we are whimsical. Whimsicalness comes with illness. You need to be patient,” he said, praising the work of all the staff at the Gemelli.
“I went to the children’s ward and saw with what kindness they took care of the children,” he said.
“Now I need to sleep for four days,” he joked after answering the various questions.
Francis, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of his papacy in March, has had a number of health issues in recent years.