Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 26 October |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Thaddeus McCarthy
Aleteia logo
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

When a couple is separated due to illness, doctors provide an act of mercy

Unknown | Fair Use

Paola Belletti - published on 09/11/18

Medical experts recognize and accommodate the truth about a long-married couple.

On August 8, an Italian man named Mario, 83, was admitted to Schiavonia Hospital in the Italian region of Padua for treatment for a chronic respiratory infection. That in and of itself would be nothing out of the ordinary or even noteworthy … except for the fact that his wife of 64 years, Elisa, was also admitted to the same hospital, and same hospital room, 10 days later.

When Mario was admitted, Elisa, who is undergoing serious cognitive decline, became anxious and agitated at home. The change of her status quo and prolonged distance from her husband had strong a negative effect mentally. So the doctors decided to give the couple the best possible medicine they could: their strong unity, built from more than a half century of marriage.

The recreated (as best they could) the atmosphere of home by giving them a room with two beds just for them, to reduce the disorientation that everyone experiences during a hospital stay, especially the elderly.

Perhaps these medical experts recalled Jesus’ warning not to separate what God has united, or maybe they were inspired by the human wisdom that recognizes the vital richness of relationships and their great influence on our wellbeing. Regardless, the doctors’ decision may have reduced the couples’ length of hospital stay.

The medical field is well-positioned to rediscover and enhance a patient’s relational and psychological dimension, and to gain a keener sense of their human dignity, which is equal to that of the physician. Humans are not monads, nor are we souls separated from bodies. And what can we say about husband-and-wife or parent-and-child relationships? They are among the closest and most inseparable. With hope, initiatives like these will become more common in health care.

Cases like Elisa and Mario prove that the words of Scripture are not just images, but deeply describe our being and what we are called to be. Two spouses really do become one flesh. They shape each other, for better or for worse. And, in these 64 years of life together, made up of four children, work, toil, perhaps quarrels and reconciliations, tight budgets and prosperity, habits and small delusions, perhaps of common prayer, celebration, and shared sorrow, is it any wonder that Mario and Elisa have ended up looking more and more alike?

96 Year Old Georgina

Read more:
Watch how this 96-year-old woman is helping to end loneliness among the elderly (VIDEO)

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
J-P Mauro
How St. Jerome’s pun made an apple the “forbidden fruit”
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
Theresa Civantos Barber
St. John Paul II’s perfect advice for lasting love in marriage
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Steps of prayer to learn from today’s Gospel
John Burger
Member of the singing Von Trapp family dies in Vermont
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.