Pope Benedict XVI Falls, Fractures Wrist

July 17, 2009 - 6:08 AM
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Vatican City (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI broke his right wrist in a fall during his vacation in the Italian Alps, officials and the Vatican said Friday.
 
The ANSA news agency reported the pope was undergoing surgery to reduce the fracture, but the spokesman for the local hospital where he is being treated, could not confirm that.
 
The pope, 82, fell in his room in a chalet overnight and despite the accident, celebrated Mass and had breakfast before going to the hospital, a Vatican statement said.
 
Tiziano Trevisan, a spokesman at the Umberto Parini hospital in the nearby town of Aosta, said doctors had taken an X-ray of the pope's right wrist and found a small fracture.
 
"The pope will be held for a few hours as the doctors treat his fracture. He will then stay for observation," possibly for a few more hours, Trevisan told The Associated Press.
 
He could not immediately confirm ANSA's report of surgery.
 
Benedict has been healthy during his five-year pontificate. There have been no reports of medical problems.
 
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said earlier Friday that Benedict had slipped and was hurt, but that it did not seem serious.
 
He said the pope went to the hospital in the northwestern Italian town for an examination after the accident. ANSA reported that Benedict arrived at the hospital by car and walked into the first aid ward with an aide.
 
Benedict has been vacationing at a chalet in the village of Les Combes in the Valle d'Aosta region near the French border since Monday.
 
His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, also spent several summers at Les Combes. While John Paul liked to hike, Benedict spends most of his time inside the chalet that looks out on Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps.
 
Benedict has spent two summers at Les Combes in recent years. He said upon arrival that he expected to rest and work during his vacation.
 
Benedict is scheduled to be away until July 29, making at least two public appearances in the Valle d'Aosta area, including the traditional Angelus prayer on Sunday. He is expected to stick to his schedule despite the accident.