The largest palliative care center for children opens in Italy

The Bambino Gesù Hospital, a famous Roman pediatric establishment of the Holy See, inaugurated on March 22nd the largest palliative care center for children in Italy. Report.

While euthanasia and the end of life are being discussed in Europe, on March 22, 2022, the Bambino Gesù Hospital – a famous Roman children’s hospital of the Holy See – opened a new palliative care center near Rome. I .Media was present at the inauguration place currently hosting Ukrainian refugees, in the presence of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See.

“It is a forward-looking facility, especially in terms of the number of beds provided, but also in terms of the atmosphere: it is a family atmosphere, you don’t feel like you’re in a hospital but like at home,” Cardinal Parolin welcomed during the Inauguration of the structure that will house terminally ill children and others in need of ongoing care. “This type of illness must absolutely not isolate, but create even more solidarity and closeness,” he added.

The center, whose plot measures 11,000 square meters, is located in the small town of Passoscuro, about thirty kilometers from Rome. It will soon host 30 patients and their families, making it the largest in Italy. In comparison, there are currently only 7 such centers on the peninsula, with a total of only 26 places.

Ukrainian patients

Another link to the news: The facility is already occupied today by five Ukrainian patients and their families who fled the war — out of the sixty the Bambino Gesù Hospital has cared for since arriving in Italy. They are children between the ages of 2 and 15 with various diseases, including a cancer patient, a diabetic and another who suffers from epilepsy.

” The results [de la guerre, ndlr] are paid for by the weakest, the weakest,” the cardinal said indignantly. Referring to the Ukrainian children received there who claimed to have “seen photos”, he said that he considered such things “unacceptable”.

Referring to the ongoing war, the Secretary of State quoted the Pope as saying that “there is always the possibility of finding a solution, a solution that is honorable for all”. However, he stressed that it was important to show “goodwill” in order to move forward today. And reiterated the Holy See’s willingness to work together “to end this war.”

A specific response from the Church

Speaking of the medical center, the cardinal said he hopes it will be “a powerful, merciful embrace” that will bring “dignity and hope” to all those treated, their families and caregivers.

“The Church places so much emphasis on palliative care […] but words are not enough,” affirmed the Pope’s “right arm”. He emphasized how important it was to “set concrete signals [et d’]offer concrete answers to those who find themselves in difficult situations”. Before you add: “This is a concrete answer”.

The keyword is life.

Today it is families fleeing the war who are welcomed in this new building with bright and cheerful colors. On the walls we find The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his adventures.

Decorated in light colors, all rooms are equipped with armchairs and sofa beds, a kitchenette and a bathroom to comfortably accommodate children and their families. Some rooms also offer sea views.

“The keyword is life; every work, every intervention is done to ensure the best possible quality of life for the child and his family,” explained doctor Michele Salata, director of the center, to journalists. “Palliative care deals with the last moments of a person’s life, but we also deal with life,” he added.

35,000 children affected in Italy

Specialists – psychologists, physiotherapists and nurses – are available to patients at all times. There are around 35,000 children in Italy, including 1,000 in the Lazio region, who need continuous medical attention and are unable to return home.

The center, a primary school run by the Congregation of Little Sacred Heart ministers, was restructured with donations. Mariella Enoc, President of the Bambino Gesù Hospital, Nicola Zingaretti, President of Lazio, and Bishop Gianrico Ruzza, Bishop of the local diocese of Porta Santa Ruffina, were also present with other local representatives at the inauguration.


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