Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Pope may need feeding tube: report

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II may have to return to the hospital to have a feeding tube inserted because he is having difficulty swallowing, a news report says.

The Italian news agency APcom said Tuesday that doctors were considering a feeding tube to ensure the 84-year-old pontiff receives adequate nutrition.

The Vatican didn't comment publicly on the report, which the news agency attributed to a source who wasn't identified.

The procedure involves passing a feeding tube through the throat into the stomach, then drawing it outside the body through a small incision in the abdomen. Liquid formula is fed through the tube into the stomach.

If the Pope undergoes the surgery, he will be receiving nutrition in the same way that Terri Schiavo did before the feeding tube was removed from the brain-damaged Florida woman, generating tremendous controversy.

The pope should be ok as long as Catholic Church authorities keep him out of the reach of judges of the United States court system.


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