lunedì 4 luglio 2016


By Dr. Massimo Gandolfini, the doctor under whose care Bruno Cocchetti was placed

On the fourteenth of February, 1988 a student from Brescia, Bruno Cocchetti, who was eleven and a half years old was accidentally hit by a car. He received severe trauma to his face with an immediate loss of consciousness. He was promptly rescued and taken to the intensive care unit in the civil hospital of Brescia. When I visited him, I saw right away that his condition was serious: a deep coma that needed artificial respiration. The computed axial tomography was done immediately and others tests some hours later. They showed severe brain damage with hemorrhages and signs of endocrine hypertension. A surgical intervention would not have yielded any benefit. After about six hours his clinical condition worsened further becoming desperate due to damage to the brain stem. It was logical to expect an inauspicious outcome within a short time. At that time, I was an assistant at the neurosurgical clinic in the university of Brescia and unfortunately I had seen similar cases. I wanted to simplify the problem. There were two possible clinical outcomes: death or slow recovery of consciousness with serious neurological and physical disabilities. In these exact terms, I explained this to the parents and relatives of the boy. However, to my astonishment, the following clinical development began to contradict my words. Within forty hours the patient had started an unhoped for and unprecedented recovery that brought him to complete life autonomy: no neurological focal loss remained and the superior symbolic functions and psycho ­emotional life were perfectly normalized. I immediately had the impression/sensation that from a scientific, medical point of view something “exceptional” and “inexplicable” had happened. It was not his survival that amazed me (modern reanimation techniques allow us to save the life of these patients), rather it was the quality of perfect healing reached in such a short interval (the technical term is the “quod modum”of the “restitution ad integrum”). Therefore, I decided to carefully analyze all the international literature on this subject from 1970 to 1990, recruiting the involvement of other neurosurgeons and resuscitation specialists in this ponderous work. The accurate and scrupulous research essential for a serious and documented study brought us to this conclusion: in the clinical cases we have previously seen and treated, our scientific knowledge does not permit us to explain an outcome of total healing. There still remained some “black hole”. Something “scientifically inexplicable” happened stated Dr. Massimo Gandolfini, head physician and neurosurgeon, director of the neuroscience department of Brescia Hospital, member of the ethical commission of the association of physicians of the province of Brescia, and also consultant neurosurgeon of the Holy Congregation for the Cause of the Saints at the Holy See. The path to sainthood is long and winding. The Church, before lifting someone to the honors of the altar, requires proof and imposes checks and witnesses beyond any reasonable doubt. So it was for Father Giovanni Piamarta. On the morning of the fourteenth of February 1988, the eve of the feast of Saint Faustino and Giovita, patron Saints of the city of Brescia, Bruno left home and walked towards the middle school of Sereno, a village very close to his home. But, while he was crossing the street, a car hit him throwing him far. His condition immediately appeared desperate. The medical doctors of the emergency center transferred him to the resuscitation center with a diagnosis that did not leave any hope: cranial trauma with multiple injuries, deep coma and a state of shock. Near him, his parents were desperate - crushed by the pain. They fervently wished to pray, but did not know which Saint to pray to. An uncle Father Ettore Pelati, general bursar of the congregation of Father Piamarta, asked to his friend Gandolfini to take care of his nephew. “When I saw the boy, said the medical doctor and knew that the prognosis was so serious, I answered the priest that only a miracle could save this boy from death”. “I will ask to his parents and friends, Father Pelati replied to beseech the intercession of Father Giovanni Piamarta and to start a novena of prayers”. The prayer wound through the chapel of the Artigianelli Institution where Father Piamarta is buried, the church of Bruno’s parish and the chapel of the hospital. What medicine could not do, faith and prayers raised to heaven and beseeching Father Piamarta’s intercession did. Sixty days after the terrible accident, Bruno came back to school completely healed! This miracle opened the doors to Father Giovanni Piamarta’s beatification and canonization. In 1990 the Brescian Curia instructed the Diocesan process (legally approved by the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints) that would have recognized it officially. This happened when the medical council of the department, on the twenty seventh of June 1996, declared with unanimity that Bruno’s healing “was very fast, complete, durable and scientifically inexplicable”. After a few months and several tests the Congregation concluded that Bruno’s healing is to be considered “a miracle operated by God through the intercession of the Venerable Giovanni Piamarta”. So Giovanni Piamarta was proclaimed Blessed on the twelfth of October 1997 by John Paul II, who was also loved by the young and would also in the future be beatified. On that Autumn day among the five thousand people, gathered in Brescia to greet the newly beatified, Bruno was also present to show gratitude and love to the one who gave him his life back. 

Traduzione a cura di Mary Levine e Matteo Toschi

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