«Gino, can you help us out?».

This is the question that former colleagues of Gino Fasoli asked him in the midst of the Italian covid-19 emergency. Because a lot of family doctors had moved to support intensive care units under pressure for the huge increase of covid-19 patients, the surgeries had not enough human resources to work.

Gino Fasoli – a 73 year old former family doctor – could have simply answered «No, thanks» and continued with his quiet and retired life.

But for Gino Fasoli being a doctor was not simply a job, it was a mission.

Unmarried and childless, he had spent his entire life helping others as a doctor, MSF activist and volunteer in Africa during the Ebola emergency.

In short, Gino Fasoli was not the kind of man who backs away from danger.

But after only two weeks of putting on once again his white coat, Gino Fasoli became sick from covid-19 and then on 14 March he died at San Rocco Clinic Institute at Ome, in Lombardy region.

During the following days, the story of Dino Fasoli was picked up by newspapers and social media as a symbol of hope, and at the same time, a warning.

A warning of the need to guarantee safe conditions for health workers. From the beginning of covid-19 crisis in Italy, the professional associations of health workers have complained about the lack of enough personal protective equipment. According to his brother, Gino Fasoli was provided with only one mask for his work (1). But despite this situation he continued to work, becoming one of more than 60 Italian doctors who have passed away because coronavirus: an intangible memorial of sacrifice and sense of duty.

And hope because modern societies are usually represented as selfish – attitudes that should stop people being able to act together for the common good. But the story of Gino Fasoli – and the other doctors doing their work in these hard times – has overturned this vision, clearly showing there are people who are willing to take risks by caring for others and who can transform empathy into action.

A moral heritage left by health workers facing covid-19 emergency that must not be forgotten.


Cfr. Rosa Scognamiglio, Coronavirus, fratello medico morto per Covid:”Aveva solo una mascherina”, Il Giornale, 23 Marzo 2020.