The coronavirus pandemic is placing an enormous strain on medical resources all around the globe, but no country is being forced to make tougher decisions than Italy.
With over 6,000 deaths and close to 64,000 confirmed cases, Italian doctors and healthcare workers are being forced into a position where they are having to decide who to treat, and who will be left to die.
Times of crisis have a way of revealing the real heroes amongst us, and there is no greater example of this than the 79-year-old Italian priest who recently made the ultimate sacrifice.
Don Giuseppe Beradelli had spent the last 47 years serving as a priest in the beautiful city of Bergamo in Northern Italy.
Bergamo, which is best known for fine art and medieval atmosphere, is one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus, and unfortunately, Priest Beradelli had also been infected and was suffering from respiratory problems.
Beradelli was beloved by the local community, and when news spread of the priest’s deteriorating condition, his local parish went out and purchased a ventilator to assist with his breathing.
But in a heroic display of selflessness, the 79-year-old priest refused the ventilator and asked that it was assigned to someone younger than him.
Don Giuseppe Berardelli passed away in a hospital in Lovere, Bergamo, shortly after his decision to forgo the respirator.
Due to the social distancing protocols, nobody was allowed to attend Beradelli’s funeral on March 16, but people from his local area applauded from their balconies at noon to honour a man who gave his own life to save the life of a stranger.
Photo Courtesy of James Martin SJ, Twitter