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  Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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Pope John Paul II took his sense of humor into the operating room
Pope John Paul II took his sense of humor into the operating room where he underwent a tracheotomy to relieve his breathing problems. When doctors told the pope the Thursday operation would be a small one, the pontiff retorted: "Small! It depends for whom," said Italian Cabinet Undersecretary Gianni Letta. The top aide to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who visited the pope said John Paul was "serene" after waking up from the anesthesia. The pope raised his hand and attempted to speak with doctors but was told not to try, Letta said at Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital in Rome. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the tracheotomy lasted 30 minutes and that the outcome was "positive." The pope had approved the procedure, which the Vatican characterized as elective ? underscoring that it was not done as an emergency measure, publishes the Houston Chronicle. According to the News-Leader, the frail, 84-year-old pontiff, who was taken to the hospital shortly before 11 a.m. in an ambulance, was to spend the night in his hospital room, Navarro-Valls said. But the tracheotomy may require a longer hospital stay and have serious consequences for the pope's abilities to carry out his duties
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