August 16, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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The Pope invites the nurse who “saved his life” to his private service

Pope Francis has invited to his private service a Vatican nurse who recently “saved his life,” the saint said Thursday.

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The appointment comes at a time when the 85-year-old Pope has been experiencing a series of health problems. He underwent colon surgery last year and has been suffering from pain in his right knee for months, forcing him to curtail his activities.

Massimiliano Strapetti, coordinator of nursing at the Vatican’s health and hygiene directorate, has been named the pope’s “personal health assistant,” according to a statement.

Popes continue to follow the pope at the Vatican and during his trips abroad, but his recent health problems have led him to officially create this new function, a Vatican source told AFP.

Massimiliano Strapetti was identified in an interview last year as the hospital nurse the Pope honored because he believed he needed surgery to cure his colitis.

“He saved my life!” The Pope told Spanish Radio File after the operation on July 4, 2021, that the nurse had worked in the Vatican for about thirty years and that she had “a lot of ‘experience'”.

The Pope, who returned from a trip to Canada at the end of July, even mentioned the possibility of “segregating himself” and said he should slow down his travels.

Since early May, the Argentine Jesuit has been getting around in a wheelchair or with a cane. To relieve his knee pain, he receives regular infusions and undergoes physiotherapy sessions, the Vatican says, raising awareness of his condition.

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Jorge Bergoglio, however, ruled out the possibility of surgery, believing there were “after effects” from his anesthesia last year.

He had already had part of his lung removed in his youth and suffered from chronic sciatica.