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The nurse who looks after the Pope’s health

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Generous, selfless and reserved. A man dedicated to his family and to others, a life on the ward first in the Gemini intensive care unit and then in the Vatican. He was in the medical team alongside John Paul II and Benedict XVI and then personal assistant to Francis.

“He saved my life,” Bergoglio said after colon surgery. For him Massimiliano Strappetti he is not just an assistant, but a person you can count on, the “guardian angel” whose advice you can listen to. Last August he appointed him “personal health assistant”, a role that had never been assigned in the history of a pontificate. Nurse coordinator of the Health and Hygiene Directorate of the Papal State, Strapppetti has been in Santa Marta full-time for almost a year next to the Pontiff, to assist him in his daily treatments and therapies. In fact, Bergoglio will turn 87 on December 17 and for some time he has had to keep his knee pain under control – which often forces him to use a wheelchair or a cane -, but also the aches and pains that many elderly people his age have.

Added to this is also the respiratory infection which last March, precisely in conjunction with Easter, forced him to be hospitalized for a few days, always in the papal room on the tenth floor of the Gemelli Polyclinic. Strapppetti is highly appreciated in the Vatican for his professionalism, his confidentiality and his dedication to the least. In fact, he collaborates with the Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, to alleviate the suffering of the many homeless people who circulate in the Vatican area.

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He came to work alongside the Pope after a professional career that had seen him take his first steps at the Gemelli hospital in Rome, including in the delicate resuscitation department. Fifty-four years old, very private, little transpires about his private life. On Facebook, the only images posted are those next to his partner and children, a couple of photos of his favorite team, Lazio, but no mention of his work, except for a few quotes from Pope Wojtyla. The last one is dated last May 4 when he writes: “Sometimes one feels pleasure in doing evil, but the pleasure passes immediately and the evil remains. Doing good takes effort; but the effort passes immediately and the good remains; and with the good the peace of conscience and the pride of victory remain!” Strapppetti, for the Pope, also represents that category of health workers who are closest to patients, nurses. They are the ones who have the greatest relationship with the patient and this is why Francesco, especially after the Covid pandemic, often mentions and praises them.

Read the full article on ANSA.it

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