Why some hospital patients can't wait for Pope Francis to leave Philadelphia

Perhaps heaven can wait, but some patients' medical procedures and surgeries can't.

The weekend Pope Francis comes to Philadelphia — Sept. 26 and 27 — approximately 100 pregnant women and 10 organ transplant patients in the area will need to visit their local hospitals, according to a Philly.com report.

The massive security measures for the pope's visit could make getting to city hospitals a challenge. Healthcare providers are working to reassure patients, though some plans could still change.

Six hospitals are located inside the 4.7-square-mile area that will be sealed off from inbound traffic during the Pope's visit: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, Hahnemann University Hospital and Jefferson University Hospital.

The hospitals have rescheduled nonemergency and elective procedures, and ambulances and other emergency vehicles will have access to dedicated roads within the restricted traffic area, according to the report.

"We want to assure you that we are working closely with the city to develop special plans to ensure that you can travel safely to the hospital for your delivery or seek care for any special circumstances that may arise," the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania wrote to pregnant patients due around the time of the pope's visit, according to the report. "We will keep you updated as plans are finalized."

City officials have outlined various security measures intended to protect the pope and the approximately 1.5 million visitors coming to see him. These include bridge and road closures, security checkpoints and limited public transit. Such measures will go into effect Sept. 15 and continue through the morning of Sept. 28, according to the report.

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