Book Recounts John Paul II's Final Days

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A new book by Pope John Paul II's longtime personal physician recounts the pontiff's final days and minutes, saying doctors realized on a few hours before his death that further medical intervention would have been fruitless.

John Paul died April 2 at 9:37 p.m. after slipping into a coma two hours earlier, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti writes in his book ''Let me go.'' The title refers to the pope's final words ''Let me go to the house of the Father,'' which he uttered in Polish at about 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.

The Vatican has released a detailed, official report on the pontiff's final weeks and minutes, and Buzzonetti's report on the final hours dovetails with that report. Excerpts of the book were being published in Thursday editions of the Catholic news magazine Famiglia Cristiania.

Buzzonetti details a time of intense prayer in the pontiff's private apartment, with John Paul surrounded by Polish prelates and nuns and his medical team as his health deteriorated precipitously starting on April 1.

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