I was blessed to tour the leading Pediatric Hospital of Italy, Ospendale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu!
This is incredibly hard to do within the US; and even more so abroad; so by luck and God’s graces, my friend helped make this happen!🙏🏾
I wanted to learn about their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, in particular, but also discuss social issues we are facing, to compare statistics, as well as processes. I saw so much in a short time, I will never forget!
This facility has over 2,000 employees, but what’s also very impressive, volunteers!! Their volunteers, like ours, are not paid, but actually do even more from the heart, I could not fathom hearts this big!
Volunteering and humanitarianism is a cultural trait for the people of Rome. I learned today that almost every citizen volunteers somewhere. Does this really make a difference?? Yes, I felt it in a few minutes of entering Italy; especially in this hospital!
Their volunteers have a program where they assist the patients, in aftercare, when they go home!!! I wanted to cry, because I know the love it takes to do this, and to continue to visit homes after; astounding, I could have used that as a NICU Mom.
When families have a sick child in the hospital, and have to stay for a longevity, housing is free and provided!! Do you know how many need this? Healthcare is also covered for free!
In the NICU, what truly touched me, that many will never understand, is that there was not a single baby, sitting alone in their bassinet. Parents were there, a nurse, caressing a baby’s hand. Mom’s all together in a lactation room. Some were pumping for their own baby, and others, donating to the “milk bank,” to give to those who can’t produce enough breast milk. I saw love today. It changes everything. Everything.
So the big question, babies born dependent on drugs??? Not an issue here, rare, in fact. Why? Prescription medicine, particularly opiates and pain medications are heavily regulated here. They are not promoted, nor easy to obtain. Even medicines like Ibuprofen, we buy over the counter, are not used so casually.
I am not sharing this, to say that things are better here. I am sharing, to show we CAN control this issue, but WE as a people, have to care about changing it, and also about one another.
People here, care so much about each other. The things they are looking to raise funding for, helps the well being of a person, not their pockets, not to build a fancier facility, or obtain the latest equipment. When one doctor said, “we need funding, so parents can have beds to sleep in while waiting for their children to get well,” do you know how my heart felt? I said to him, I’ve never heard anyone say these words, because we do not care enough to even think about it. They even have a program, where teachers come to the patients’ bedside, for school lessons, so Illness doesn’t hinder education. It’s FREE!!!
These ideas aren’t genius, or rocket science, but they are from the heart, and are groundbreaking. There aren’t needs for big foster programs/orphanages, because children are so precious and treasured, that someone always steps in, like family.
So you see, you are in control of your life, as well as many others, with the little kind gestures, support, and love you give to others. It always comes full circle. If this was not true, I promise, where I literally went today, would have never happened!!!❤️
Bambino Gesu Hospital is needing funding to expand their hospital, as said before for more space. Limitations are issues, because of historic buildings, regulations (height restrictions); thus, they had to create facility departments, in other locations. If you know of any organizations, or programs, who can help, please contact me. They deserve so much!! Let’s learn from them!
With so much humbled gratitude to Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital, Rome, and Daiva, for welcoming me, like family, thank you so very much!!
Photography credits- Daiva Gailiute
Pictured-(left) Dr. Andrea Dotta, Head of Newborn Intensive Care
In the middle: Guglielmo Salvatori, pediatrician, head of high specialization in Neonatal Nutrition of the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome
Alessandro Lapino – Chief of marketing and social media office @ pediatric hospital Bambino Gesu