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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis names nurse who “saved his life” his personal physician

Over a year after undergoing his colon surgery, Pope Francis nominated the Vatican's Coordinating Nurse of the Health and Hygiene Directorate, Massimiliano Strappetti, his personal health assistant.

After the surgery, the Pope prayed the Angelus at the balcony of the Gemelli hospital and shared his gratitude for the care he had received. 

I want to express my appreciation and support to the doctors and all the health workers and staff in this hospital and other hospitals. They work so hard!

Last year, in an interview with COPE, a Spanish radio station, Pope Francis credited Strappetti with “saving” his life. He described how the nurse of 30 years insisted he have the surgery.

Strappetti has been working in the Vatican since 2002 and traveled with the Pope to Canada last month, when Pope Francis said he would not be able to travel like he had in previous years.

I think at my age and with this limitation, I have to save some energy in order to be able to serve the Church or, on the other hand, to think about the possibility of stepping down.

This is the first time the position of personal health assistant has existed in the papacy.