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Italian priest dies from COVID-19 after giving his ventilator to younger patient
An Italian priest has died after giving his ventilator to a younger patient whom he did not know. Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, was infected with COVID-19, and gave away the respirator purchased for him by his parishioners. Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli passed away around March 16 at a hospital in Lovere, Italy.
Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - An Italian priest, Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli, 72 of Casnigo, Italy, has died from COVID-19 after giving away his respirator.
Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli's parishioners purchased a respirator for him but he refused the lifesaving gift and asked it be given to a younger patient, whom he did not know. Berardelli died several days later, around March 16 at the hospital in Lovere where he was undergoing treatment.
Northern Italy is a global hotbed of COVID-19 and the regional healthcare system is overwhelmed with patients. The situation is so bad, doctors have resorted to "wartime triage," which means they must make snap decisions who lives and who dies, based on the limited supply of medical equipment.
At the moment, patients over the age of 60 are left to fend for themselves as equipment is assigned to younger patients, if available. Hundreds of people are dying each day.
Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli may be one of the first reported clergy to die of COVID-19, but he will not likely be the last. It is the duty of our clergy to serve the needs of parishioners, especially in times of great crisis. Our clergy and religious often keep this obligation, which they take seriously, even though it puts them at extreme risk.
Those who die as a result of giving their lives for others show how we are to be, and serve as an example of profound charity. "No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13).
Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli has followed the example of priests like Maximilian Kolbe, who took a condemned prisoner's place at Auschwitz and gave up his life without complaint.
We pray that Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli has been welcomed into heaven and that he will pray for all who suffer from this dread illness. It is difficult to report this story without tears.
Let us remember our heroic clergy, as well as all those who are risking their lives to keep lights on, shelves stocked, and our lives preserved during this difficult time. May we pray for all, and thank them for their service and sacrifice.
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