The Italian fencing player Bebe Vio, who triumphed with a gold medal at the Paralympics in April 2021 pays tribute to Galeazzi Orthopaedic Center of Excellence teaching and research institute doctors and staff

September 14, 2021

At the Galeazzi Orthopaedic Hospital of San Donato Group, the team were very proud of the fencing gold medal champion dedicating the victory to the staff of the hospital who treated her last April for an injury and a dangerous infection that could have compromised much more than her participation in Tokyo 2020.

Bebe Vio revealed it herself after her victory. The 24 years old from Mogliano, a fencer since the age of five and a half, who stopped only a year after suffering, at eleven, the amputation of forearms and legs following a fulminating meningitis, bet the Chinese Zhou Jingjing, she said: “Last April 4, I had to be operated in my elbow and it seemed that I shouldn’t have been to these Paralympics. because I had a staph infection which went much worse than it should and the first diagnosis was amputation within two weeks (of the left limb, ed) and death soon. The Orthopaedist worked a miracle, he is also called Dr. Riccardo Accetta by the way … He was very good, all the staff were. This medal is absolutely not mine, it’s all theirs “.

Dr. Riccardo Accetta, the orthopaedic surgeon of the Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute

Dr. Riccardo Accetta is the renowned chief physician in charge of Traumatology

and the first aid at the Galeazzi, where Bebe Vio was hospitalized a couple of weeks, last spring, for surgery and to manage the infection, in great secrecy. when the champion explained her tears for this medal “completely different” from that of Rio: then it was “the emotion of the first time, this one here I just did not expect. The first four years of preparation have gone very well, even in the period of Covid. The last one was quite unlucky: I had a fairly serious injury. The physiotherapist Mauro Pierobon and the athletic trainer Giuseppe Cerqua were something magical “.

If Dr. Riccardo Accetta, the orthopaedic surgeon of the Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute in Milan he and his team had not succeeded perfectly in the operation, cleaning and surgically closing the infected elbow, now we would be writing a whole different story. “I already knew Bebe and her parents because we had followed her for other small problems and for some time she had been sending many of the young athletes she follows with her sports association, Art4Sport, to us for some time, so there was already a mutual trust”, says Dr. Accetta. “When she had this  dislocation during pre-Olympic  training  in her left elbow,   which is the arm she uses at fencing, first an attempt was made to treat her conservatively, but then unfortunately there was an  overinfection at the joint level, a septic arthritis,  which was treated with  antibiotics. Being inside a joint, that is, a poorly vascularized structure, the antibiotics could not have the due effect”.

“If you leave the infection inside the joint, it is destroyed. And if you wait too long the infection finds ways to rise, so you have to amputate to avoid septicaemia.  Staphylococcus aureus often if not treated locally does not heal, and therefore we had to intervene. Bebe knew it,  so she was scared: when she had the attack of meningitis, at the age of  11, they had to amputate her limbs to save her life”.

“At some point the swelling in the elbow became important, the joint was hot and very sore so we started antibiotic therapy and then, to avoid the risk of amputation, we intervened surgically”. Explained Dr Accetta during his interview to the Italian Gazetta salute.


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