The Drs: Pope Francis has One Lung & Dorothy Hamill Quits Dancing


The Doctors: Pope Francis, Medical Miracle With One Lung

Did you know Pope Francis is literally a living miracle? When he was younger, he contracted some type of disease that became so severe he had to have one of his lungs removed. Although it is a procedure that is not done often today, it was a procedure that was done often back in the 50s and 60s.

The Doctors speculated that the 76-year-old Pontiff had a respiratory infection, probably bronchitis, when he was a teenager and doctors were forced to remove the lung in a procedure known as a thoracotomy and pneumonectomy.


Dr. Travis Stork said the body is so resilient that it can sustain normal working order even when a lung is removed.

The Drs: Lung Removal Can Improve Breathing

The Drs: Pope Francis has One Lung & Dorothy Hamill Quits Dancing

The Doctors talked about how Pope Francis had one lung removed as a child, what it is like living with one lung and Dorothy Hamill was forced to quit DWTS.


To learn more about what it is like living with only one lung, The Doctors called on Dr. Vance Moss, a thoracic surgeon and one of The Doctors’ Most Beautiful Doctors in America. Dr. Vance Moss said when the lung is removed, he advises patients to continue performing physical activities because it will help strengthen the single lung. He said there will be obvious limitations with only one lung, like adding some time to the amount of time it takes for the patient to run a mile, but the ability of the person to live a normal life is not hampered even with the decreased respiratory function.

Dr. Moss said the removal of one lung may actually help a person breathe better. The hyperinflation of the diseased lung could be crushing the other lung making it even more difficult to breathe.

The Doctors: Precautions After Lung Removal

Dr. Moss said there are precautions someone with only one lung has to take. He said it is important they always get their flu shots, that they limit their salt intake and they limit the amount of water they intake as well. He added that the risk for pneumonia is the same but the chances of survival are far less likely.

But Dr. Moss said the body is miraculous. Even when the body loses one lung, meaning the oxygen getting to your red blood cells is lessened, the body can accommodate quickly with the single lung.

“The ability for the body to accommodate is miraculous,” Dr. Moss said. “You may feel the difference in the first month after the surgery, but years afterwards, you don’t know the difference.”

The Doctors: Dorothy Hamill Quit Dancing With the Stars

American Olympian Dorothy Hamill had to bow out of Dancing with the Stars this season because of back pains. The Doctors speculated that the amount of nerve damage she might have done to her back while training for the Olympics could have flared back up when she began training for the show.

Dr. Andrew Ordon said it was smart of Hamill to take a break because she could injure her back even further if she continued on the show.

Dr. Stork added that back pain is common, but severe back pain is not. If your back pain is so bad you begin feeling weakness, numbness, bowel or bladder problems or you begin vomiting, Dr. Stork said you need to see a doctor immediately.


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