Pope leaves hospital 10 days after surgery

·2-min read

Pope Francis has been discharged from a Rome hospital and returned home to the Vatican, 10 days after undergoing planned surgery to remove half his colon.

Francis sat in the passenger seat of the Ford car, which left Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic on Wednesday morning.

As his motorcade approached a side entrance to the Vatican, the Ford stopped and Francis got out with the help of a bodyguard. He greeted some Italian security guards - two army soldiers standing guard and a handful of Italian police motorcycle escorts - and got back in the car, which then entered the Vatican through the Perugino gate.

Francis had half of his colon removed for a severe narrowing of his large intestine on July 4, his first major surgery since he became pope in 2013. It was a planned procedure, scheduled for early July when the pope's audiences are suspended anyway and Francis would normally take some time off.

The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, confirmed Francis' return from the hospital and visit to the Rome basilica. Praying before the icon, Francis "expressed his gratitude for the success of his surgery and offered a prayer for all the sick, especially those he had met during his stay in hospital", Bruni said in the statement.

Francis will have several more weeks to recover before beginning to travel again in September. There are plans for him to visit Hungary and Slovakia in a September 12-15 trip, and then make a quick stop in Glasgow, Scotland, in November to take part in the COP26 climate conference.

The Vatican had said Francis could be discharged last weekend, but later said he would stay a few days extra for further recovery and rehabilitation therapy.

The Pope appeared for the first time in public since the surgery on Sunday, looking in good form as he delivered his weekly prayer from the 10th floor hospital balcony, surrounded by young cancer patients.

The pontiff had part of one lung removed when he was a young man but has otherwise enjoyed relatively robust health.

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