The Pope’s personal doctor, Dr. Fabrizio Soccorsi, has been a consultant for the Holy See for 26 years now. And with his decades-worth of experience in the medical field, he has learned to relate his life and his mission to have a truly unique responsibility.
Known for his numerous specializations in the field of medicine, Dr. Soccorsi believes that the most important part of being a doctor is the ability to see things from a holistic perspective. Currently, he specializes in the fields of hepatology, tropical diseases, gastroenterology, and hematology.
“The last one I took was internal medicine, because I am convinced that we must not cure just one organ at a time but the entire body, in a holistic approach,” he says. “Organs communicate with one another and the patient must be considered in his totality and its complexity.” (Read: A Medical Doctor Explains Why You Should Try Functional Medicine)
To get to know more about Dr. Soccorsi, My Pope sat down with him and asked him about his life, career, and his unique job as the personal physician of one of the most well-loved leaders in the world. Read on to see what he had to say!
How does it feel to be the personal doctor of Pope Francis?
It is a privilege that I live minute by minute, and that gives me the same emotion I felt the first time I came face to face with the extraordinary charismatic person of the Holy Father. I have always considered my profession of a physician as a mission; I take care of simple folk and powerful ones in the same manner, but I feel a strong emotion that borders on excitement before the Pope.
What were your thoughts when you learned that the Pope chose you as his physician?
I asked myself: “Why me?” And then, I realized that it was not for me to judge. I can only say that all the people who have approached me through all of my many years of practice have been struck by the doctor as well as the man, and my balanced attitude especially when faced with complex cases. (Read: Pope Francis Invites Family of Nurses for Meet-Up)
I entered San Camilo when I was still studying medicine and the knowledge of human beings was always there to guide me. For me, the ward was a great mentor where I learned about life.
What did you learn from the experience?
I learned to see the face of Christ in every suffering human. I have a deep faith and I dreamed of being a doctor since I was a child. I always tried to help people in the hospital, especially those who lost hope in healing. With the objective to help those in need, I also dedicated myself to apostolates, engaging in them in spite of my commitments in the hospital: It is the Lord who asked me. (Read: 5 Saints to Call on for Health-Related Problems)
Was there a moment when you understood that you gained the Pope’s trust?
If you refer to my being appointed, I really did not expect it. My father’s words came to mind: “Always be ready for the highest level, because life may throw the most unthinkable situation before you.”
When you care for the Pope, does your responsibility increase?
I dedicated my life to patients. I feel all the responsibilities, more so these days with the Holy Father. But it’s a situation that I live without anxiety, even though I’m still a bit dazed. (Read: A Feast Day Prayer for St. Augustine of Hippo)
Has your life changed after you became the Pope’s doctor?
Absolutely not. I continue to wake up every morning at 5 am to study and keep myself updated. Two afternoons a week I am busy with consultancies and, when I am needed, I go to the Vatican for visits or for medication consultation for the Congregation of Saints. Only one thing has changed… I have a special patient.