As Pope Francis settles into his new role at the Vatican, Catholics around the world have been interested in getting to know their new leader. According to most reports, the Jesuit priest from Argentina has made a splash with both Catholics and the mainstream media for his humble style.

One of the fascinating facts sticking with folks as they learn more about the Pontiff’s background is that he is living with just one lung full lung. The bulk of the other was removed in the 1950’s, for reasons not entirely clear, although the press has speculated it was likely due to an infection.

To understand more about the historical medical reasons behind lung removal and the reality of living with only one full lung, we spoke with Marshall Hertz, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Center for Lung Science and Health at the University of Minnesota.

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