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Buonocore Involved in Local Priest’s Canonization

In Brief

  • Richard Buonocore, M.D., neurosurgeon at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, and the Trauma Center and Operating Room teams at Crozer cared for a patient in 2002 whose miraculous recovery was attributed to the prayers of the patient’s family to Rev. Louis Guanella.
  • The recovery was deemed a miracle by the Catholic Church. It was the third miracle attributed to Guanella, which allowed him to be canonized as a Saint by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2011.

Richard Buonocore, M.D., neurosurgeon at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, and the Trauma Center and Operating Room teams at Crozer cared for a patient in 2002 whose miraculous recovery was attributed to the prayers of the patient’s family to Rev. Louis Guanella. The recovery was deemed a miracle by the Catholic Church, which allowed him to be canonized as a Saint by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2011. 

Guanella was an Italian priest who lived from 1842-1915 and founded several residential religious educational institutions, including Don Guanella in Springfield, whose members pledge to pray for the sick and dying. 

In March of 2002, William Glisson Jr. of Edgemont suffered a terrible head injury during an inline skating accident. Glisson, then 21, was expected to die or be severely disabled due to brain damage.  

Glisson was taken to Crozer and cared for by the Trauma Center team. He was rushed into surgery, where Buonocore removed pieces of skull from both sides of Glisson’s head to extract blood clots and bruised brain tissue, and to relieve hemorrhaging and swelling. Buonocore installed a bolt that contained a fiber optic device to monitor brain pressure. He covered the brain with synthetic dura, and then left two 8- to 10- centimeter openings on both sides of the head to accommodate swelling. Six days later, he installed a shunt in Glisson’s brain to relieve the build-up of cerebrospinal fluid. 

Buonocore operated on Glisson twice within 12 hours of his arrival at the medical center. Buonocore claimed that Glisson had suffered the worst head injury that he had ever seen, and imagined that if he survived, there was a 99 percent chance that he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.  

"There was nothing else I could do," Buonocore told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I had more than exhausted my ability for surgical intervention. I thought he was going to be in a persistent vegetative state and wouldn't wake up." 

A family friend, and former staff member at Don Guanella, informed the religious community of Glisson’s conditions and asked that they pray for him. Glisson wore a relic, a piece of Guanella’s bone, pinned to his hospital wristband. The Don Guanella community prayed to their late founder for a miracle. By April 10, Glisson was going through rehab. By April 20, he was home again.  

Buonocore is part of the Neurosurgical Associates practice at Crozer, which can be reached at (610) 874-4044. For more information about the Crozer Regional Trauma Center, visit http://ckhstrauma.crozerkeystone.org

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