Written by Facer Hughes, CNN
A dentist in southern Italy made good on a promise to unveil a prosthetic arm to a TV celebrity after the celebrity’s daughter contracted polio.
On television at the end of May, Stefano D’Ambrosio told the Italian audience that he would hand over a fake limb to Italian soccer player Davide Astori, whose daughter Luna was recently diagnosed with the childhood disease.
“Davide Astori’s daughter Luna was born just weeks ago,” D’Ambrosio told the audience. “She suffers from polio and will need a prosthetic.”
Asked by the audience which shoulder the prosthetic would be attached to, the dentist said: “It’ll be this one.”
In good company
D’Ambrosio’s decision to make good on his promise, which was originally made at the end of May in a video posted on Facebook , drew strong reactions from viewers and members of the public alike.
Criticism poured in on social media with some saying the video was “insensitive and offensive,” while others praised the dentist for intervening in a private matter, despite being labelled as a “man of the people.”
The circumcision controversy
In a bizarre turn of events, the graft of fake skin was also praised by anti-circumcision activists.
And though none of the customers D’Ambrosio initially thought of were angry with him for carrying out the operation on television, he did receive calls from irate customers when his disfigurement was broadcast.
“A lot of patients said they’d been ill for many months, with pain, just because their gums had been chopped off,” D’Ambrosio told CNN.
But the episode hasn’t stemmed D’Ambrosio’s interest in the issue of childhood polio. Since the surgery, he has set up an association of people with disabilities called Novale Cortexire — children are referred to as “cuscices.”
“I want them to feel accepted,” D’Ambrosio says. “I still have kids as patients that I’m learning to help.”