The Pope's Partial Lung

Pope Francis I waves at a congregation

Early this morning, Pope Francis I was inaugurated as the next pope in line at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The 76-year-old pope greeted world leaders, had his ring kissed and carried on mini-conversations with everyone who stood in line to see him. This four-hour-long event was a pivotal moment for the more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide.

So far, so good. The fact that Pope Francis has one fully working lung did not inhibit his duties and doctors say that it probably won’t affect him anywhere in his future. Sergio Rubin, the pope’s authorized biographer, stated that although the pope does feel it and is slowed by the lack of two fully-functional lungs, he is OK.

In his younger years, Pope Francis had a section of an infected lung removed, reported the AP. At the time, antibiotics weren’t as powerful and it was typical to use various methods in order to treat infected lungs. Some doctors even place ping-pong balls inside the lung to limit oxygen in order to kill bacteria. In this day an age, it is rare for anyone to get pieces of lungs removed due to infection.

It was speculated that the pope had lost an entire lung, but the Vatican stated that it was only a partial removal and had nothing else to say on the matter.

Overall, the pope looks healthy, although strenuous exercise is out of the question for Francis. Fascinatingly enough, because of the partial removal of his lung, his full lung might have actually expanded in his chest cavity, with the ability to expand a bit more than it normally would.  This, however, has no effect on Francis’ health moving forward.

His close friends and family claim that the pope is as energetic and as healthy as any 76-year-old man can be.