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Priest Dies After Giving Ventilator to Younger Patient

Newser — Evann Gastaldo

A priest infected with the coronavirus was offered a ventilator at an Italian hospital earlier this month, but declined it so that a younger patient could use it instead.

That priest has now died, USA Today reports. Don Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, had been the archpriest of the small northern town of Casnigo, near Milan, since 2006.

Northern Italy has struggled with a shortage of the supplies needed to treat COVID-19 patients. The BBC reports at least 50 priests have reportedly been killed in the outbreak in Italy.

"He was a priest who listened to everyone, he knew how to listen, whoever turned to him knew that he could count on his help," says the mayor of a town where Berardelli was previously a parish priest.

Rev. James Martin compared Berardelli to Maximilian Kolbe, the Catholic saint who was killed during the Holocaust when he volunteered to take the place of a man condemned to die at Auschwitz.

"Don Giuseppe Berardelli, patron of those who suffer from coronavirus and all who care for them, pray for us!" he tweeted. Berardelli did not know the man for whom he reportedly gave up the ventilator.

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