While Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli is remembered fondly by those who knew him as a man of kindness and self-sacrifice, the reports of a donated respirator passed along to a younger patient are not true, the secretary general of his diocese told CNA Tuesday.
“There was not a donated respirator. There have not been any respirators coming from outside of the hospital,” Fr. Giulio Dellavite told CNA March 24.
Doctors in Italy’s Lombardy region have struggled to treat the more than 10,000 coronavirus patients currently hospitalized in the region with a limited number of intensive care units.
Fr. Dellevite, a friend of Fr. Berardelli for over 20 years, said he believes that Fr. Berardelli would have given up a potential spot in the intensive care unit up for another younger patient, if he could have.
“But we do not have certainty,” the priest said.
“It is not like the way that some journalist wrote: that it was a respirator bought for him and then given by him to someone else,” Dellevite said.
A March 22 report from the Italian website Araberara, which claimed Fr. Beradelli sacrificed a respirator donated by his parish for another younger patient, went viral March 23.
The website quoted an anonymous employee at the San Giuseppe Rest Home in Casnigo as the source of its information.
But Benedetta Francina, an employee at the San Giuseppe Rest Home, told CNA it is unlikely fellow employees of the rest home could have known how things ended for Fr. Berardelli, because he died at the Lovere Hospital, and not at the rest home.
Francina told CNA she is a parishioner of Berardelli’s parish, St. John the Baptist, and that she knew the priest as a man of great faith.
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