Doctors were preparing to operate on Pope John Paul II Thursday to help ease his breathing problems, an Italian news agency said.
The news agencies <i>ANSA</i> and <i>Apcom</i> said doctors would perform a tracheotomy — a procedure in which a hole is made in the throat and a tube is inserted to assist breathing. The pope already was in the operating room, according to <i>Apcom</i>.
The reports came hours after the 84-year-old pope was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance for the second time in a month after suffering fever and congestion from a recurrence of the flu. A Vatican spokesman refused comment on the reports.