Italian Prime Minister Remains in Hospital After Jarring Attack

By Dana Betlevy
Dana Betlevy
Dana Betlevy
December 15, 2009 Updated: December 15, 2009

ROME, Italy—Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is in more serious condition than the San Raffaele Hospital doctors originally thought. Berlusconi remains hospitalized after being attacked on Dec. 12 and it is uncertain when he will be released.

He was hit in the face with a statue—a tourist souvenir, at Piazza Duomo, Milan, on Sunday after leaving a political rally.

The chief of San Raffaele Hospital, Alberto Zangrillo, said in a press conference on Dec. 13 that the prime minister was tired with a headache, but remained in good spirits.

X-rays have confirmed Berlusconi sustained a broken nose and two broken teeth. The medical certificate issued cited that his vital signs were normal, despite him losing half a quart of blood.

“Tomorrow we will decide,” the doctor said, “but it doesn’t mean that we’ll let him go, the consequences are more serious than we could say last night.”

Berlusconi was visited in the hospital by his sons, politicians Roberto Maroni and Sandro Bondi, the mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, among others. President of the Senate, Renato Schifani said, “Beyond the physical pain, he is suffering from this political hate that turned into aggression.”

Pope Benedict XVII conveyed his “paternal support” wishing him “a speedy healing” and deplored the attack, according to the “Roman Observer.”

The 42-year-old attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, had no prior criminal record, but has been treated for mental problems for several years. According to the minister of Defense, Ignazio La Russa, who was present at the incident “only the police prevented the attacker from being lynched.”

Tartaglia was taken to police headquarters, for an initial interrogation, after which he was moved to house arrest on charges that he provoked multiple serious wounds.

Berlusconi was helped into his car by his bodyguard immediately after the attack. Before leaving for San Raffaele Hospital to get emergency first aid, Berlusconi welcomed the crowd, reassuring his supporters that he was alright.

Berlusconi said he is not scared, but is concerned about the existence of excessive violence, according to Italian media.

Dana Betlevy