Leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has appointed a new personal doctor weeks after the previous one died from COVID-19.
The 84-year-old pontiff picked professor Roberto Bernabei, an expert in health care for the elderly, as his physician, the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday, February 24.
Bernabei, 69, leads the geriatrics and rehabilitative medicine department at Rome’s Gemelli, the Catholic hospital where popes are traditionally treated.
The last papal doctor, Fabrizio Soccorsi, died aged 78 on January 9 of Covid-19-related pulmonary complications, following a hospitalisation for cancer.
Francis is believed to be in relative good health, despite having had part of his lung removed when he was a young man after developing pleurisy.
Last month, he cancelled several events due to a chronic nerve condition that causes hip pain and makes him walk with a slight limp.
The pope later received the coronavirus vaccine alongside his predecessor, former pope Benedict XVI.