Returning to life in the Hospital

Giuseppe's experience on the occasion of World Day of the Sick 2022


Spending a well-deserved holiday in Ischia's thermal springs and finding oneself in an intensive care unit, intubated and sedated, is not an easily recounted experience. And yet, 71-year-old Giuseppe, who walked out of the Neurology department of our University Hospital on his own two feet, is able to talk about an awakening that was as much hoped for by his family as it was by no means taken for granted given the clinical status in which he arrived into the intensive care unit of our Hospital, after having been transported by helicopter to Ciampino airport from the intensive care unit of Ischia.

“I know what happened to me through what my wife and the people who rescued me have told me, while I can only testify through my memories that I was lying in the sun and woke up in the intensive care unit of the Campus Bio-Medico”, he says.

A brain stem stroke put him into a coma for about 10 days from which he awoke under the watchful eye of Prof. Felice Eugenio Agrò, Director of the Anaesthesia and Reanimation Unit, and Prof. Vincenzo Di Lazzaro, Director of the Neurology Unit. The latter followed the progress of Giuseppe's treatment, and the patient quickly returned to walking and to leading a normal life, without any residual brain damage.

“I carry in my heart the wonderful care I received from all the health workers, I cannot forget my waking up surrounded by the doctors, who were incredulous given the faint hopes I was clinging to”, says the patient, emphasising how much difference the ‘human' attention he received made in his situation: “I was never left alone”.

Words reminiscent of those of the Holy Father Pope Francis, on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick, in an invitation to health workers “not to forget the singularity of every sick person,each with their own dignity and frailty”. Giuseppe does not forget his relationship with Prof. Di Lazzaro and the doctor's reference

to that “There’s Someone who has decided that he should remain on this Earth”, after having also overcome stomach cancer, diagnosed in time, two years before his ischaemia.

Two experiences that profoundly changed his life and, since last September, have brought him back to practising a somewhat tarnished faith. “When I go to mass with my wife, I feel good. Now I am serene”.