Pope encourages Vatican nurse who is credited with saving her life

Pope Francis has promoted a Vatican nurse whom he credits with saving his life as his “personal health care assistant”.

The Vatican announced the appointment of Massimiliano Strappetti in a one-line statement on Thursday.

Mr Strappetti, the nursing co-ordinator for the Vatican’s health department, accompanied Francis on a difficult trip to Canada last month.


Massimiliano Strappetti stands with Francis during the weekly general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Francis, 85, last year credited him with accurately diagnosing an intestinal problem that led to Pope’s 10-day hospital stay and 13 inches of his colon removed in July 2021.

“A nurse, a man with a lot of experience, saved my life,” Francis told the Spanish Episcopal Conference in the months following his surgery.

Francis noted that Mr. Strappetti’s intervention saved his life a second time by a nurse. He recalled that in 1957 a nurse in his native Argentina decided to double the amount of drugs given to the future pope, known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, after part of his lung was removed due to a respiratory infection. was determined after.

Francis has a personal physician, Dr. Roberto Bernabé, who was appointed last year. Bernabei is an internist and geriatrician at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome.


Massimiliano Strappetti follows Francis to the Naksuk Elementary School Square in Iqaluit, Canada (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

The pontiff has suffered a series of health problems over the past year, most notably strained ligaments in his right knee that sharply reduced his mobility.

After months of magnetic and laser treatment, he can walk short distances with a cane or walker, although he also uses a wheelchair.

Mr Strappetti was on hand to help with a wheelchair during Francis’ general audience on Wednesday. She coordinates nurses in the Vatican’s small health care system, which provides basic care for Vatican employees and their families.

His appointment was announced when he and a doctor accompanied Francis on their week-long “atonement pilgrimage” to Canada to atone for the Catholic Church’s role in the country’s residential schools for Indigenous children.


Massimiliano Strappetti, left, sees the Pope in Canada wearing an indigenous hat (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Francis always travels with a doctor and nurse who are on call in case of health problems, and Mr Strappetti was on hand when Francis issued his chief apology and received a feathered headdress from indigenous leaders.

While returning home from the trip, Francis said he would have to slow down his journey and perhaps resign one day.

“This trip was a bit of a test. It’s true that you can’t take trips in this state, maybe we’ll have to change the style a little, reduce, pay off the debt of trips that I still have to do and reorganize,” They said.

He said the “door is open” for him to resign if he cannot move on.