Thursday, February 24, 2005

Doctor's Consider Tracheotomy for Pope

From AFP - The News / wire stories:

"Doctors treating Pope John Paul II at Rome's Gemelli hospital were consulting whether to perform a tracheotomy on the 84-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church to relieve his breathing difficulties, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Doctors treating the pope, who was readmitted to hospital early Thursday, were 'evaluating' whether he should undergo the surgical procedure, which creates a temporary opening in the windpipe to relieve breathing problems, the agency said.

'A tracheotomy runs a serious risk of infection. An aperture is opened in the throat, but by doing this, the throat's natural filter is eliminated,' Professor Giovanni d'Urso, an Italian respiratory specialist, told RAI state television.

RAI, citing unnamed medical sources, earlier reported that the pope -- who suffers from Parkinson's disease -- was breathing with the aid of an oxygen mask. "