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Vatican, Milan hospital deny report regarding pope's health.

VATICAN CITY -- A Vatican spokesman last week said recent medical tests on Pope John Paul II show him to be in excellent health.

The spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said: "All the clinical and laboratory test results were within normal parameters." He was responding to a report that appeared in the Jan. 8 issue of NCR, written by Peter Hebblethwaite. In that article, Hebblethwaite stated that doctors from the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan had offered a verdict on John Paul's health, saying he has from one to four years to live.

Navarro-Valls flatly denied the NCR story and other reports that the pope had not fully recovered from his July 15 surgery. During that operation, doctors removed the pope's gall-bladder and an orange-sized tumor from his colon.

Navarro-Valls last week stressed that the growth had not been cancerous but said the pope was following a regime of three-, six- and 12-month checkups to ensure there is no recurrence of the growth.

After an Italian news agency reported the NCR article, the Milan hospital issued a statement saying "the Scientific Institute Hospital San Raffaele, in defense of the truth and of its own scientific seriousness, categorically denies having made any statement of prognosis relating to the health of His Holiness John Paul II."

NCR last week said it stood by Hebblethwaite's report.
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Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Feb 5, 1993
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