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    Pope Francis leaves Rome hospital 9 days after surgery

    Pope Francis was released from Rome hospital on Friday, where he underwent abdominal surgery nine days earlier to repair a hernia and remove painful scars.

    Francis, 86, left through the main exit of the Gemelli Polyclinic in a wheelchair, smiling and waving and saying “thank you” to a crowd of well-wishers, then got up so he could get into the small Vatican car that was waiting for him. In the short distance before he could reach the white Fiat 500, reporters pushed microphones practically to his face, and the pope seemed good-naturedly toss them away.

    “The pope is fine. He is better than before,” Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the surgeon who performed the three-hour operation on June 7, told reporters as the pope was driven away.

    Hours after the surgery, Alfieri said the scars from previous abdominal surgeries had left the pope in increasing pain. There was also a risk of an intestinal blockage if adhesions or scar tissue were not removed, the doctors said.

    According to the pope’s medical staff, no complications arose during the operation or while the pope was recovering in Gemelli’s 10th-floor apartment, reserved exclusively for hospitalization of popes.

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