CHICAGO (CNS) — Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, has been readmitted to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment of hydration issues and pain management, according to archdiocesan spokeswoman Susan Burritt.
In a brief statement March 28, Burritt said the cardinal had requested the update about his health be released. “He asks for and is grateful for your continued prayers,” she added.
No further information was available.
In early March, Cardinal George was hospitalized at Loyola’s medical center for several days to undergo tests to evaluate his condition since he stopped treatment for cancer in late January.
The cardinal had been in a clinical drug trial being conducted by University of Chicago Medicine but was dropped after scans showed the experimental treatment was not working for him.
At a Jan. 30 news conference, he told reporters that doctors have exhausted all options in his cancer treatment and have moved on to palliative care.
“They’ve run out of tricks in the bag, if you like,” said Cardinal George, 78.
He said he was doing physical therapy because his muscles atrophied during chemotherapy, when he was exhausted and unable to get around much, he said. That situation is typical when undergoing chemotherapy, and especially with polio survivors, such as himself, because their muscles are overworked, he said.
“But basically, I’m in the hands of God, as we all are in some fashion,” he said, adding that he hopes to eventually get off the crutches he has been using since last October.
“In some ways, this particular disease, in my case, has not been following the usual pattern in the past. It probably won’t follow the usual pattern in the future,” the cardinal told reporters.
Like anyone with a terminal illness, he has good days and bad days, he noted.
In July 2006, the cardinal received a diagnosis of cancer of his bladder and ureters. He underwent a five-hour operation at Loyola to remove his bladder, prostate gland and sections of his ureters — the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
He had a successful recovery from that surgery and did not need chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
In August 2012, doctors found cancerous cells in his kidney and on the liver. He had to undergo a chemotherapy regimen. Two years later, he had to go through more chemotherapy followed by the drug trial.
Last November, he was succeeded by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich.
Since retiring, Cardinal George has been keeping regular appointments and hearing confessions at Holy Name Cathedral on Thursdays when he’s available. Hearing confessions was one of the things he said he looked forward to most in retirement.