Cardiologist to Be Pontiff's New Doctor

Buzzonetti Retires After Serving 4 Popes

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2009 ( Benedict XVI appointed Dr. Patrizio Polisca as vice director for the Vatican’s health care and hygiene, which will include the position of the Pope’s personal physician.

The Vatican press office announced the appointment Monday of Polisca, 55, as a replacement for Doctor Renato Buzzonetti, 85, who served in the Vatican through the last four pontificates.

The Pontiff acknowledged this service by appointing Buzzonetti as pontifical physician emeritus.    

Polisca is a specialist in cardiology, anesthesiology and resuscitation, and teaches in the cardio-surgery institute of the University of Rome Tor Vergata.

He is president of the medical commission of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, and has been collaborating with Buzzonetti for some time in the Vatican health services.

Buzzonetti is retiring to a private life after working for 44 years in Vatican City, serving not only the Popes, but also the cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay people dependent on the Holy See.

In today’s edition, L’Osservatore Romano recalled the doctor’s “discretion and professionalism,” as well as his constant “spirit of abnegation and dedication to the person of the Pope.”

It added that the physician earned the “greatest confidence” from Pope John Paul II, who named him as his personal doctor, as well as from Benedict XVI, who confirmed him in this position.

The doctor accompanied John Paul II in his many trips around the world, and was at his side after the 1981 assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square.

The article expressed gratitude to the physician for the good he has done for so many people in his long career “under the shadow of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.”

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