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Lifestyle Did you know: Pope Francis has only one lung

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During his teenage years, the Pope lost one of his organs after an infection, that is according to the Associated Press.

Pope Francis is a pioneering pontiff in many ways. He’s the first to take the name of Francis, the first pope from South America, and the first to don the papal robes with one lung.

During his teenage years, the Pope lost one of his organs after an infection, that is according to the Associated Press.

At the time of his infection, the world was clueless as to what antibiotics were. The doctors removed the lung as way to stop the infection from spreading.

“It was probably a pretty bad infection, and maybe even an abscess, that might have caused him to bleed,” says Dr. John Belperio, association professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles. “If he were bleeding a lot in the lung, the only thing to do is to resect the lung, take it out, to stop the bleeding.”

Most bacterial infections wouldn’t cause such serious damage to the lung tissue, but, says Dr. Ronald Crystal, professor of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, some strains, such as staphylococci, are more destructive and could eat away at the delicate organ, leaving doctors with no choice but to remove the affected tissue to prevent more widespread health problems.

Anything from pneumonia to a fungus or even tuberculosis could have caused the initial infection, which, if it wasn’t controlled properly, would have resulted in removal of the lung.

As long as the Pope takes extra precautions to protect against infection — including getting vaccinated against pneumonia and having a flu shot every year — there’s no reason to believe the health of the Church’s 266th pontiff will be an issue. “He’ll do fine,” says Crystal.