“In those coffins taken away by military trucks there were a client of mine and a childhood friend of mine. They returned home only after forty days ».
Remember what you will never forget. Mario Sorlini is the dean of the general practitioners of Bergamo, forty years of honorable profession in his Albino, which since it is wedged between Alzano Lombardo and Nembro few have talked about it, but it was one of the municipalities with the highest number of victims by number of the people living there.
“Two days later there was another expedition. I was in the car and got stuck behind a column of army vehicles that seemed endless. I leaned behind the wheel, wondering why God was doing this to us. ‘
When did you realize what was happening?
“Too late, like everyone else. Morning of February 24th. One phone call after another. Thus, without any warning. My clients fell ill one after the other. One hundred calls a day. I had 1,600 assistants. Every year I lost a couple of them to the flu. Last March 25 died in 21 days, nearly fifty by the end of that month. When we say the Bergamo massacre, that’s it. For three weeks my countrymen, the people of our province, died like flies ».
How did you deal with this tragedy?
“Beyond Tachipirina, which was a bit like stopping the sea with your hands, I didn’t know anything about this virus. I tried to heal on the basis of experience and knowledge of my patients. I felt inadequate, I confess ».
“We did African medicine, in the sense that we tried artisanal cures. Today we know more but there is still no real therapy. The Bergamo massacre teaches that people must always be told the truth ».
Did the photos of the military trucks in front of the cemetery change anything?
“No. Really. I didn’t know what to give. Fortunately, I chose not to give my patients hydroxychloroquine, the famous Plaquenil which was popular at the time. Thank God”.
Did you feel abandoned?
«It was the task of the Lombardy Region to tell us what we had to do. But this always with hindsight. I didn’t think about it in those days. There was only to dab, do x-rays, send people I have been treating all my life to the emergency room, without knowing if I would ever see them again. An elderly patient of mine from Albino went into a coma. He woke up a month later, in an intensive care in Catanzaro ».
How much have the delays and indecisions of the authorities weighed?
“Something huge has happened here. Impossible to predict. Then, of course, in those days we doctors had no means of protection, no protocol. To say, we had to go and get the pulse oximeters ourselves in Switzerland. But in me fatalism prevails over any indignation. That’s how it went ».
Are comparisons with the present possible?
“For charity. This third wave is nothing compared to what it has been ».
“The virus went away in late April. And we still don’t know why. When I see my colleagues on television full of certainties about Covid, I immediately change the channel ».
If you were Mario Draghi, what would you say today?
«Vaccinate, and then resist, always, as we did. Because nothing can be worse than what the people of Bergamo experienced ».
March 18, 2021 (change March 18, 2021 | 07:49)