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Medics on alert for Pope visit

More than 100 doctors will be on standby in Krakow for ailing Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland this week, Deputy Health Minister Andrzej Nauman has said.

Krakow's Rydygiera hospital will be ready to handle any medical emergency - even heart surgery - during the visit.

"140 doctors will be on duty, as well as 12 specialist professors," said Nauman.

The Pope, 82, will visit his native Poland for four days from August 16, his eighth trip to the country since becoming Pope in 1978.

He will travel with his private doctor and be joined by a Polish anaesthetist, Andrzej Zawadzky.

Three medical helicopters and 10 ambulances will be on hand at all times to provide emergency transport.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected in Krakow for the visit, and up to two million could attend an August 18 church mass to be held at Krakow's Blonia square.

The Pope, born Karol Wojtyla, was archbishop of Krakow before becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church almost 24 years ago.

Apostolic Voyage to Poland 2002 | Program

Daily Telegraph

12 Aug 2002