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Vatican: Pope Breathing Without Aid of Respirator

The Vatican says Pope John Paul II is in good spirits following surgery to insert a breathing tube in his throat. Doctors have advised the pope not to speak for several days.

The chief Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, says the pope spent a peaceful night resting after his surgery, and ate breakfast with a hearty appetite this morning.

Providing details of the pope's breakfast, Dr. Navarro-Valls said the pontiff had coffee and milk, yoghurt and 10 small biscuits.

The spokesman says the pope's breathing has improved significantly since the tracheotomy, and that he has been experiencing a significant feeling of relief. He says the pope has not been using any mechanical assistance, such as a respirator.

"Upon the advice of his doctors, the pope must not speak for several days, so as to favor the recovery of the functions of the larynx," he said.

The Vatican insists that the pope underwent the tracheotomy to assure adequate breathing, but that it was not an emergency procedure. The operation involved placing a tube in the pope's throat to help him breathe better.