An American Surgeon Accidentally Amputated a 600-Year-Old Statue’s Finger | Smart News | Smithsonian

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An American Surgeon Accidentally Amputated a 600-Year-Old Statue’s Finger

The museum decided no to press charges, and so far the unwitting tourist hasn't been asked to pay for repairs

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The statue on the right lost its delicately extended pinky earlier this week. Photo: Sailko

Surgeons are renowned for their precise touch, but one Connecticut practitioner smashed that stereotype earlier this week while visiting Florence’s Museum of the Works of the Cathedral. Violating museum rules, emergency surgeon Patrick Broderick decided to see how his hand measured up to the hand of a 600-year-old marble statue created by the medieval sculptor Giovanni D’Ambrogio. To Broderick and his family’s horror, the statue’s thin pinky snapped off, just as a security guard was trying to intervene, the Daily Mail reports. “Broderick was mortified and apologized profusely, fearing prosecution and a massive fine for damaging the historic piece of work,” the paper said.

For the museum, however, apologies weren’t going to cut it. Broderick was arrested and brought in to the local police station for some questions. But it seems he was in luck. The museum decided not to press charges, and so far Broderick hasn’t been asked to pay for repairs.

In another stroke of luck, the museum revealed that the pinky wasn’t actually an original—the statue’s hand had been recast in plaster. The most valuable works of art are either kept away from the public or tightly guarded, the Daily Mail reports.

While many are condemning the out-of-line tourist, one commenter to the Daily Mail’s story insisted that Broderick is “an absolutely amazing doctor, do not doubt his clinical skills, he is a very intelligent man & someone I would trust my life with” and that he was “just being his lighthearted, goofy self trying to make an innocent comparison.”

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