Why Pope Francis Only Has One Lung

Pope Francis is a pioneering pontiff in many ways — he’s the first to take the name of Francis, the first pope from South America, and the first to don the papal robes with an unusual medical condition.

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DYLAN MARTINEZ / REUTERS

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica after being elected by the conclave of cardinals, at the Vatican, March 13, 2013.

Pope Francis is a pioneering pontiff in many ways — he’s the first to take the name of Francis, the first pope from South America, and the first to don the papal robes with one lung.

According to the Associated Press, the new Pope had one of his organs removed as a teenager, presumably after a bout with an infection. At that time, it’s possible that antibiotic treatments that are commonly used today to treat such infections were not as available, and to protect patients from further health problems doctors removed the lung as way to stop the infection from spreading.

“It was probably a pretty bad infection, and maybe even an abscess, that might have caused him to bleed,” says Dr. John Belperio, association professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles. “If he were bleeding a lot in the lung, the only thing to do is to resect the lung, take it out, to stop the bleeding.”

MORE: Habeus Papam: Francis, the First Pope from the Western Hemisphere

Most bacterial infections wouldn’t cause such serious damage to the lung tissue, but, says Dr. Ronald Crystal, professor of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, some strains, such as staphylococci, are more destructive and could eat away at the delicate organ, leaving doctors with no choice but to remove the affected tissue to prevent more widespread health problems.

(PHOTOS: Pope and Circumstance: the Road to the Papacy)

Anything from pneumonia to a fungus or even tuberculosis could have caused the initial infection, which, if it wasn’t controlled properly, would have resulted in removal of the lung.

Other possible reasons for the surgery include a birth defect that caused an abnormality in the lung tissue, or an unusual growth of blood vessels into the air sacs that would obstruct normal breathing.

MORE: Why the Election of Pope Francis Is Important for Latin America

Fortunately, the lungs are a redundant system, and losing one lung doesn’t seriously compromise health. The only concern Pope Francis faced, and will continue to face, is that he has less respiratory reserve than someone with two intact lungs. That means he may be at slightly higher risk of complications from influenza or more vulnerable to succumbing to pneumonia. But, says Belperio, the fact that the 76-year old has lived a relatively healthy life so far demonstrates that his surgery did little to hamper his ability to live a full and active life.

(PHOTOS: Catholics in Latin America Rejoice)

In fact, animal studies suggest that the lung has a remarkable ability to regenerate, and some preliminary work in young children shows that they may be able to regrow some amount of lost lung tissue as well.

As long as the Pope takes extra precautions to protect against infection — including getting vaccinated against pneumonia and having a flu shot every year — there’s no reason to believe the health of the Church’s 266th pontiff will be an issue. “He’ll do fine,” says Crystal.

81 comments
journeyoflife
journeyoflife

Thanks for an edifying story about Pope Francis and the health aspects on having one lung. I must remember to tune in again. If I can remember which website this is...

RichyBocaz
RichyBocaz

Is this a real news? This is not a paparazzi web site. Am I wrong?.

epov111
epov111

Habemus Papam! Viva il papa! We have a new pope, Pope Francis,  whose character, simplicity, humility and a clear sense of vision and mission for the Church are apparent and felt by those who have come to know him personally. He has the capacity and moral ascendancy to lead the flock by example, particularly at this time and age when the Church, just like any other international human institutions, such as the United Nation and its member countries themselves, is buffeted by internal and external conflicts, which to a certain degree and instance even made his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI admit as "moments of turbulent seas and rough winds, as have occurred in the history of the church when it seemed like the Lord was sleeping."


    But the Catholic Church will survive as it has survived for the last 2,000 years or so. It even survived the great Roman Empire, which persecuted the early Christians and even crucified to death the first Pope, now venerated (not worshiped) as St. Peter, the apostle, just as it has survived the scribes and pharisees, the Turks and the vandals and the other empires, kingdoms and dictatorships listed in human history. As to the so called Roman Empire, which succumbed to the vandals and finally fell sometime in AD 476, among the few remaining glories of the aforesaid empire is its classic history and works of art and perhaps the honor which the Catholic Church continues to give the defunct empire by calling the universal church - the Roman Catholic Church. But even Italians today prefer to call themselves "Italians" rather than "Romans" and they speak Italian rather than Latin. 
   Perhaps, the next generation or two of the Catholic faithful and their servant leaders may finally decide to  adopt a name for the church which is more proper, accurate, relevant and significant by calling the church "Catholic Christian Church," with Christ as the beginning and the center.
   As to the current concern that the Catholic Church is already slowly  losing some members who have transferred affiliation to other religious or spiritual denominations, that is not a new phenomenon to the Church. Even Jesus Christ, who is God Himself and founder of the Church, was abandoned by some of his followers who could not take and understand some of his teachings, particularly referring to the mystery of the Eucharist, and complaining: "This is too hard for us to accept."
   Worse still, from among the first twelve, yes twelve,  apostles who were personally chosen by Jesus Christ Himself and who personally witnessed with their own eyes and ears the miracles and sermons of their Master, one of them, Judas Iscariot, believed to be the treasurer of the group, betrayed Jesus to death for a mere thirty pieces of silver.
    Another one, Peter,  also known as Simeon bar Jona, appointed by his Master to be the leader of the group and to whom Jesus Himself proclaimed "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church," denied his Master not once, not twice but three times.

    And finally the third one, Thomas, at first openly doubted that his Master had actually resurrected from death.
    That the Catholic Church, indeed,  is losing some of its members from the fold is not really surprising nor a big issue, considering that there is an increasing number of religious groups with different perspectives and practices, though different more in methodology rather than in theology. 
     Moreover, there are more and more financially prosperous people today who have become too materialistic and mundane and who now tend to believe that they are no longer dependent upon any direct or indirect intervention by any divinity or divinities - unlike in the past when poverty, deprivation, oppression and desperation led them to seek faith, hope and charity and to look up to the heavens and plead: "O God, if not to you, to whom shall we pray? If not to you, O Lord, to whom shall we go?"
   What is a bigger issue today for the Church, which  our new Pope Francis is fully aware of and is determined to address is for all living Christians to follow the footsteps of Christ not only to Calvary but more so to His teachings of love - to love God and to love one another by daily and actually manifesting it in an act of mercy to a person in need of such mercy, which act is, indeed,  more pleasing to a benevolent God than a thousand heads bowed in prayer or a million hands lifted with shouts and songs to the heavens.
Atty. Amay P. Ong VañoCebu City, Philippinesepov111@yahoo.com

lollymanl
lollymanl

By only allowing conservative bishops to vote the Catholic Church has ensured that the Church will continue to decline in modern societies where equality is more in line with Christs beatitudes than  Canon laws which are still saturated with embalmed prejudice of primitive social mores. 

ZachBashevis
ZachBashevis

just as Shirley responded I'm shocked that some one able to earn $6283 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this site link... Buzz75.ℂom


Shimmanni Park
Shimmanni Park

Do you say that all the paired human organs--eyes, noses, ears, hands, legs, even testicles--are redundant? What a weird view of human anatomy!

Dale Klčo
Dale Klčo

The only one-lungers I know are motorcycles.

BobMcDonald
BobMcDonald

Pope Francis follows a lineage which does not challenge a man's position against women in that the role women are reduced to is simply one of pleasure and self sacrifice by men, who may disagree with what a woman is allowed to encompass by His Divine Decrees.

Vespaluus
Vespaluus

It has occurred to me that the brilliant, famous atheist Bertrand Russell still had many years ahead of him at the age of 76.

Vespaluus
Vespaluus

The fundamental issue is the idea that any man has especially good access to the nature of the Creation of the Universe. The secondary consequence is the idea that a human fetus is somehow more sacred than a wolverine, of which there are only about 300 left. The rate of human proliferation is now a more dangerous problem than nuclear weapons proliferation. Will a Pope who is taking the name of the most environmentally sensitive of all the saints, examine such doctrines as endanger the lives and even existence of those whom St. Francis called his brothers?

usmannrana
usmannrana

And half a brain %s RT %s Interesting. The new Pope only has one lung! %s %sWxW

Pat Collender
Pat Collender

What a joyful night it was and thank you, Holy Spirit, for we have now a new Pope from the developing New World, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who is now Pope Francis after St Francis of Assisi and St Francis Xavier. Viva il Papa! Viva il Papa! Viva il Papa!

greentree1
greentree1

bilajafar-Iff the pope was conplicit in the kidnapping of anyone, it would be a ;legitamate conceern. However the allegation needs to cone form a widely accepted legitimate source. If you have evidence that this site is a legitimate source, and not simply anti-Cstholic propoganda, please share it with the rest of us

There is nothing new about the pope's opposition to gay marriage, abortion or contraception. The Chrch has opposed these things for centuries.

Segovia Tocre
Segovia Tocre

no habra papa como juan pablo II, pero benedicto tuvo que renunciar para darle el cargo de papa a su amigo francisco I, francisco primero debio dejar de ser cardenal hace mas de un año y por alguna razon sospechosa no lo saco del cargo, ahora sabemos que era el candidato a nuevo papa, al parecer hasta en el vaticano todo es una farza...... ,,

Nkululeko Nzimande
Nkululeko Nzimande

Uzofa kanti. Many ways to get buried but one to be look 4 a Papal burial. Belafonte in gracia

Nilufar Begum
Nilufar Begum

Seven men have been executed in Saudi Arabia for a crime they committed before they turned 18. When they committed the crime they were children. So, they were waiting to be grown up. When they became adults they were slaughtered. What was the crime? So far I remember they did not kill any body. I am profoundly sad for this brutality. I hope Saudi Arabia will move forward to be a democratic country like other middle-eastern countries.

Bob McDonald
Bob McDonald

If a pope is our destiny then how sick are we?

Stephen Abbott
Stephen Abbott

Vh, surely you don't blame him for removing these two Marxist political activists and for their torture by the brutal thugs in power at the time?

Sandra Marsh
Sandra Marsh

Hi Pope Francis! Welcome! You have your work cut out for you. I hope the Church can clean up it's act and pronto! I'll be rooting for you! God bless!!

Vh Hurtado
Vh Hurtado

In 1976, Bergoglio demanded that two Jesuit priests—Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics—cease preaching liberation theology and leave the slums where they were working. After they refused, Bergoglio had them removed from the order. The two men were subsequently kidnapped and tortured by the military.

McPhee VoniaBlack
McPhee VoniaBlack

ha! already digging up dirt on the new Pope? Yall a mess. I knew something was gonna go down. So what! When will there b more donors to help those who need organs & blood? too many people r dying thanks to non donors. im a donor so there when i die Im helping someone by allowing them to use my organs. seven pounds folks. God rewards thouse u give their life for another to live. Isnt that what he did for us?

Barrosh Barrosh
Barrosh Barrosh

And the first one that starts knowing that must prepare to face child exploitation.

Rita Sor
Rita Sor

Dapat kasi mjo bata ang ibinoboto mgng pope hndi yung mga sakitin!

thewilderones
thewilderones

“%s: Why Pope only has one lung | %sn1x ” He gave it to the 1st female pope. "Born in my imag%sli%s#fb

levis2kk
levis2kk

@epov111 did you forget to mention child sexual abuse cases, homosexuality and other vices that your "Catholic" Church has condoned for decades? Does the Pope follow the teachings of Christ? How about bearing that pagan title "Pontifex Maximus" when Jesus said his disciples shouldn't take up titles like Father, Leader etc? Did you even dare to count the Catholic Church among Christian bodies? If I remember well, is it the same church that prevented people from owning a copy of the bible and even killed men who tried to make it available to the masses? Nay, you can't be serious. So next time, before you copy-and-paste rubbish, do take the time to read it and ask yourself if it does make any sense.

Vespaluus
Vespaluus

@BobMcDonald Ignore Bernardo here. 

A) here are already better Christian churches.

B) If you want a treatise on how to live your life, try Schweitzer's "Civilization and Ethics". You can dispense with the anthropocentrism of most religions.

C) Or you could become a Buddhist, Buddhism is Apatheist, as far as I can tell.

D) Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion".

levis2kk
levis2kk

@Pat Collender didn't know the Holy Spirit participated in the voting. Or was it the "campaigning" that it played a part in?