LIFESTYLE

Pope Francis names new personal doctor ahead of his trip to Cuba and the U.S.

Pope Francis during a meeting with Youth Eucharistic Movement at the Vatican, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015.

Pope Francis during a meeting with Youth Eucharistic Movement at the Vatican, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015.  (AP)

The pope has named a new personal doctor ahead of his trip to Cuba and the United States.

The Vatican announced Saturday that Dr. Fabrizio Soccorsi is taking over as Pope Francis' personal physician. His predecessor, Dr. Patrizio Polisca, a cardiologist, will remain the physician to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

Soccorsi will accompany the 78-year-old pope on his Sept. 19-28 trip to the U.S. and Cuba. The Vatican said that Soccorsi has a specialty in internal medicine and previously was chairman of the hepatology department at the San Camillio Forlanini Hospital in Rome. He also taught immunology at the Rome Medical School.

Pope Francis, who has had part of a lung removed, departed from recent tradition by not naming the new director of the Vatican health care services as his physician.

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