Pope in medical crisis

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Friday, April 1, 2005 Several sources report Pope John Paul II, who was receiving nutrition from a tube inserted through his nose, is no longer using the tube. The tube was inserted shortly after the pontiff appeared at his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square and was only able to speak several words.

The tube used was threaded down the nose and throat into the stomach. A surgically implanted tube was also considered at the time, but it was deemed excessively invasive according to Dr. Barbara Paris, director of geriatrics at Maimonides Medical Center in New York.

There are reports the pontiff has a severe urinary tract infection. The infection caused a severe fever which developed into a medical crisis. He is being treated by antibiotics and has recently suffered from heart failure and a significant reduction in kidney function. According to the Vatican, he is currently "lucid", breathing shallowly, and surrounded by his top aides.

The Pope's condition has led many to pray — both Catholics and non-Catholics. A large number of people are outside the papal apartment in the Vatican City. Many people have also come to pray at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

The ailing Pope also suffers from Parkinson's disease, which makes it difficult for him to talk while knee and hip ailments are taking a serious toll on his mobility. The series of new ailments follows the breathing tube insertion by only a month's time.

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