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John's Paul II's Doctor: I don't know how he survived the shooting

2014-04-23

Rodolfo Proietti was John Paul II's doctor. He was the lead physician in the operating room where he was treated right after being shot. He also treated him months before his death, at Rome's Gemelli hospital

RODOLFO PROIETTI
John Paul II's Doctor 
"How did he survive the shooting? Was it because of us, or perhaps something else? This, I'll never know. What I do know is that he recuperated almost perfectly. He would always tell me, 'I trust your competence, but I also trust the Divine Providence' meaning he trusted us doctors, but it wasn't all up to us.” 

He says the most challenging part was treating John Paul II just like any other patient. The pressure of course, was always there. 

RODOLFO PROIETTI
John Paul II's Doctor 
"He wanted to know every single detail. Why, how and where...He wanted to have the final say. Ultimately it was he who gave the 'yes' or the 'no' on a procedure.” 

Not surprisingly one of the most challenging moments was when he performed the tracheotomy operation on John Paul II. 

RODOLFO PROIETTI
John Paul II's Doctor 
"One of the doctors told him, 'Your Holiness, it will be a minor intervention.' The Pope said, 'That may be the case for you, but not for me.' He asked us if he would be able to speak again. Perhaps we didn't tell him the entire truth. After a tracheotomy you can indeed speak, but his situation was different. It was a palliative intervention because ultimately he didn't have the strength to speak.” 

In the end, the medical team also learned a lesson about willpower and determination. John Paul II's voice was an instrument of evangelization, but he continued with this mission, until the very last minute, even when he no longer had a voice. 


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