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Pope has ‘successful’ throat surgery

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

The Pope has had a tracheostomy, which suggests his condition is rather more serious than I had previously anticipated. Given his already weak condition, and the severely detrimental effect this will have on his ability to talk properly, can he really continue as Pontiff? If, of course, he recovers and survives, which is now looking less likely than it did a few weeks ago.

This may have been reported as ‘minor’ surgery, but it’s worth noting that it has a 5% risk of death and will leave the Pope with permanent speech difficulties (to add to the considerable difficulty he already has), so it’s being rather more downplayed than is the reality. The fact that he’s had one at all suggests that he’s in a bad way, and the next few days will most likely be fairly touch-and-go.

As something of a side-note: Why the media are insisting on reporting the operation using the relatively uncommon spelling tracheotomy as opposed to the widely used term tracheostomy (they mean exactly the same thing, but the latter is easier to say), I’m not entirely sure. But given that the term is somewhat widespread, I guess it’s something to do with the original press release. But you really think one of the outlet’s science correspondents would have commented by now.

This 384th post was filed under: News and Comment.

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