The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported Aug. 31 that the man Pope Francis was referring to is Massimiliano Strappetti, a nurse who has worked in the Vatican since 2002, after eight years serving in the intensive care unit at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.
COPE radio wrote that Strappetti is a husband and father and known for being generous and devoted to others.
According to La Repubblica, Strappetti was the person who advised Pope Francis to undergo tests after he had his first flare-up of diverticulitis in February.
Strappetti, together with the pope’s other medical staff, recommended that he have the July 4 operation to keep the situation from becoming worse.
Pope Francis returned to the Vatican July 14, after spending 11 days in Gemelli Hospital to recover from the three-hour surgery to remove a part of the colon to relieve a stricture caused by diverticulitis.
“This is the second time in my life that a nurse has saved my life. The first was in the year ’57,” Pope Francis told COPE, in reference to an Italian religious sister who helped him when he was ill with pneumonia during his seminary studies in Argentina.