Bambino Gesù Hospital
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|Bambino Gesù Hospital|
One of the two entrances to the hospital
|Location||Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|Funding||Non-profit, For-profit, Government, Public|
Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù (Baby Jesus Paediatric Hospital) is a children's hospital located in Rome, Italy. It accomplishes its institutional Christian testimony by providing public services in the healthcare field.
The hospital, which was founded in 1869, is now part of the network of the National Healthcare System in the city of Rome on extraterritorial area administered by the Holy See. Since 1980, due to its prestige and to the strengthening of its relations with the Italian National Health System, it has become a significant point of reference for paediatrics at the national level.
The trademark of the hospital in the last thirty years has been the high level of specialization in the treatment of children coming not only from Rome or Italy, but also from neighbouring European countries.
In 1985 it was officially recognized as a research hospital (Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico), thus being included among the most important national comprehensive hospitals and becoming one of the three children’s research hospitals in Italy.
On 22 May 1988, Michael Jackson visited children suffering from cancer in the hospital. He signed autographs and gave away sweets and records to the little patients. He promised a check of 100,000 pounds sterling to the hospital.
Within the framework of the National Healthcare System, the structure of the hospital has undergone significant revision, following the new organization processes of the Italian Public Administration and public healthcare in particular.
On 4 October 2010, a medical team from Children's Hospital Bambino Gesù of Rome made the world's first transplant of a permanent artificial heart in a patient 15 years old.
A 2017 Associated Press investigation reported that the hospital changed its focus to prioritize profit over the health of the children there. The report found that overcrowding and poor hygiene contributed to deadly infection, including one 21-month superbug outbreak in the cancer ward that killed eight children. It also found that in order to save money, disposable equipment and other materials were at times used improperly, with a one-time order of cheap needles breaking when injected into tiny veins.
The report also stated that doctors were so pressured to maximize operating-room turnover that patients were sometimes brought out of anesthesia too quickly. All of these alleged incidents were reported to have occurred between the years 2008 and 2015.
The hospital responded in a statement, describing the investigation as a "hoax" and saying that it "contained false, dated and gravely defamatory accusations and conjectures that had been denied by an independent report of the Holy See."
A secret three-month Vatican-authorized investigation in early 2014 gathered testimony and documentation from dozens of current and former staff members and confirmed that the mission of "the pope's hospital" had been lost and was "today more aimed at profit than on caring for children."
The Vatican later commissioned a second inquiry after a three-day hospital visit in 2015 and concluded that nothing was amiss after all.
The hospital called the AP’s report a “hoax” that “contained false, dated and gravely defamatory accusations and conjectures". After Associated Press published the report, the Holy see released the following statement: “No hospital is perfect. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke. "But it is false and unjust to suggest that there are serious threats to the health of children at Bambino Gesu”.
On 13 July 2017, it was announced that the Tribunal of the Vatican City State had charged both the hospital's former president Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer Massimo Spina with illicitly using money which was destined for the Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital Foundation to renovate the apartment that became the residence of the former secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. It was later confirmed that their trial will start on 18 July 2017 and that no charges have been filed against either Bertone, the Castelli Re construction company or its owner, Gianantonio Bandera, a longtime Bertone associate.
The trial began on July 18 as scheduled. On the first day of hearings, both Profiti and Spina appeared before the Vatican tribunal and had both their motions to dismiss the trial and bar journalists from covering the trial rejected. It was also announced afterwards on the first day of hearings that the trial was adjourned until September 7 and that Cardinal Bertone could be called as a witness when the trial resumes.
On September 7, the trial began and went into recess after one day when it was announced that new evidence emerged and the defense and the prosecution requested more time to study a memorandum from Bambino Gesu Hospital’s current head given to the tribunal a day earlier emerged. Dates were set for the court to be in session again on Sept. 19, 20, 21 and 22, first to hear from the defendants themselves, and then from roughly 7 projected witnesses, four called by prosecutors and three by the two defense teams between September 21 and 22.
On September 19, Profiti testified that hospital funds were used for the renovation with the idea that Cardinal Bertone could host intimate dinners for eight to ten wealthy potential donors at a time at least half-a-dozen times a year, but also defended himself by further testifying that the expense was justified because he intended to use Cardinal Bertone's apartment for fundraisers that would have more than repaid the investment within four to five years. However, no meetings were ever reported to have been held in Bertone's apartment. On September 22, an official of the Government of the Vatican City State testified that the remodeling project for Bertone's apartment bypassed the normal competitive bidding process and was "singular " and "anomalous." The same day, Spina testified that his immediate superior “told me there were no problems because Cardinal Bertone had clarified the situation with the Holy Father in person.”
On October 3, 2017, Gianantonio Bandera, an Italian businessman whose now-bankrupt contracting firm renovated the apartment, said that Bertone personally oversaw the renovation and contacted him directly without taking bids, as would ordinarily be required.
On October 14, 2017, the three-judge tribunal overseeing the trial acquitted Spina and convicted Profiti of a lesser offense of abuse of office after the defense argued that the money was intended as an investment to benefit the hospital rather than Bertone's apartment. Profiti was also given a one-year jail sentence, less than the three-year sentence the prosecution had sought.
- Pisa, Nick (2 October 2010). "Boy, 15, gets first permanent artifical heart". Telegraph.co.uk.
- "L'ospedale Bambino Gesù, inaugurata la nuova struttura a San Paolo". Il Messaggero (in Italian). Rome, Italy. 24 October 2012. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.
- Nicole Winfield; Maria Cheng (3 July 2017). "'Pope's hospital' put children at risk as it chased profits". Associated Press.
- Nicole Winfield; Maria Cheng (3 July 2017). "Vatican hospital calls AP investigation into care a 'hoax'". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017.
- "The Latest: Vatican hospital says AP investigation is 'hoax'". Associated Press. 3 July 2017.