Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic
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The Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital (Italian: Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli) is a large general hospital of 1,850 beds in Rome, Italy. It serves as the teaching hospital for the medical school of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (the largest privately owned university in Italy, founded in 1921 in Milan), and owes its name to the university founder, the Franciscan friar, physician and psychologist Agostino Gemelli.
Construction began in 1959 on the hill of Monte Mario in Rome, and the hospital opened its doors in July 1964. It provides free medical assistance as part of the Italian national health system as well as paid-for "private" assistance in hotel-style wards called "Solventi" (Italian for "Payers"), and includes facilities for basic and clinical research, on-site student residences, three canteens, three cafeterias, one restaurant, one bookshop, and two medical libraries.
Undergraduate and postgraduate education in Medicine & Surgery, Nursing sciences, Physiotherapy and a variety of other clinical subjects takes place at the hospital. Apart from student residences, the hospital consists of four buildings open to the public: the "Biological Institutes", the "Protected Health Residence", the combined "Institute of Infectious Diseases" and "Centre for the Medicine of Aging", and the main hospital building (the "Polyclinic"), which was significantly expanded in recent years by the addition of a new wing, where the Accident and Emergency department and most operating theatres were transferred, as well as several laboratories. The buildings are surrounded by parking lots and meadows. The original manorial villa, built long before the site was chosen to build the hospital and previously used as a convent, now serves as the Institute of Bioethics, as well as the main university Church.
Pope John Paul II
The Gemelli (which as the official hospital for the Pope keeps a suite of reserved rooms always available for him) became the focus of international attention during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II who, in 1981, received emergency surgery after Mehmet Ali Agca's failed assassination attempt. He returned at various times, up to a few weeks before his death in 2005. Other famous recent ex-patients include politicians Walter Veltroni and Francesco Cossiga, priest Georg Ratzinger (elder brother of Pope Benedict XVI), and Canadian filmmaker Damian Pettigrew. In June 2009 a statue of Pope John Paul II was unveiled in front of the hospital building.