A top Italian surgeon who has operated on Pope Francis twice is under investigation by prosecutors, the Gemelli hospital in Rome said Thursday, following media reports of alleged fraud.
Sergio Alfieri is accused of having falsely declared to have been the operating surgeon “in many cases”, while being somewhere else entirely, according to Italy’s La Stampa daily, which alleged it was a scam to pocket extra private sector fees.
Alfieri’s lawyer Carlo Bonzano was quoted by Italian news agency Adnkronos as saying the surgeon “is certain he has always respected the rules,” while Alfieri himself told the Repubblica daily he was “not at all worried”.
In a statement, the Gemelli said it “expresses its trust in the judiciary that is carrying out the investigation, to which it continues to ensure the widest collaboration, with a view to clarifying every aspect.”
“At the same time, it expresses the utmost trust in Professor Sergio Alfieri’s work and in his indisputable professional and human qualities,” it said.
The Gemelli hospital is the favoured choice of pontiffs to the point of being dubbed “Vatican III” by John Paul II.
Alfieri performed a hernia operation on Francis at the hospital in June, as well as colon surgery in 2021. The Vatican declined to comment on the investigation.