Hospitals - Chiesa Evangelica Luterana in Italia


The ELCI involved in the management of two hospitals in Italy. The International Protestant Hospital in Genoa and the Evangelical Hospital in Villa Betania, Naples handled by Lutheran congregations who founded them: Genoa, Naples and Torre Annunziata.

The International Evangelical Hospital in Genoa

The International Evangelical Hospital in Genoa (OEI: Ospedale Evangelico Internazionale di Genova) is characterized by the high quality and excellent services that offered by different stations, and aligned particularly to the needs of patients by physician and nurse staff.

Over the years, the OEI has developed more and more services for illnesses are recovering within five days.

The radiology department has been equipped with the latest technology: MRI , total -body CT and cone-beam CT which is unique in Liguria. Excellent results are also guaranteed in the diagnosis of venous illnesses, thanks to the two echo – color doublers “Esaote Mylab 50 gold” and a laser scanner module. The numbers speak for themselves: 870,000 analysis per year and more than 1,000 patients for oral anticoagulation therapy in prevention of thrombosis underline the high quality of the Analyse-centrer. With the decision of the Liguria region, from 1 May 2011 the OEI became the coordinator of the Hospital S. Carlo in Genova- Voltri, so it is included now about 750 employees and 200 beds. The role model in management is the International Protestant Hospital, so it guarantees that our services will function properly. Since the OEI is a private company, managed independently, it has a separate Board of Directors, including a pastor or a representative of one of the five churches under Article 1 and five council members, who elected by the members of their churches (by their own church community), and every three years by the General Assembly of the members by secret ballot (re-election is possible).

The current success of the International Protestant Hospital is the result of its long history, which started in the 1840’s. At that time, due to the international reputation of the port of Genoa, there were a proportional number of foreign residents in the city, such as English, German, Scottish and Dutch ships were made ​​fast along the jetties during the lengthy loading and unloading. Therefore, in Genova there have been numerous Evangelical Christians who had a desire to have a hospital with nurses who could speak German and English. So in 1856, also written in Article 1 of the Statute, the project of the Protestant Hospital was in danger and the following Protestant churches in Genova provided support for them: the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Protestant Reformed Church of Switzerland, the Evangelical Waldensian Church, the Independent Italian Church (in the aftermath excreted) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The official foundation took place on June 8, 1857, according to its statutes, the founder churches were entrusted with the management. The subsequent Royal Decrees dated March 2, 1876 to October 19, in 1933 the status of the hospital was recognised as a public corporation and approved to change the name to “International Lutheran Hospital”.

Between 1969 and 1970, the OEI was a hospital in the region and increased the number of beds to 140, thanks to the construction of a new wing as an extension of the old building.

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The Protestant church “Villa Betania” in Napoli

Today, the Protestant Hospital “Villa Betania” is part of the health sector in Campania. With 158 beds and 350 employees, about 13,000 patients a year and approximately 50,000 patients treated in the emergency room.

One of  the best department is the neonatal centre with 10 neonatal, 2 surveillance and 8 seats for intensive neonatal therapy. The station has helped dramatically to reduce the high infant mortality rate in the surrounding area.

At the annual general meetings of the hospital and the Lutheran congregations, Naples and Torre Annunziata are represented by two members in addition to about ten churches and communities. The Hospital Board of Directors consisting of five members and both the Treasurer and the Deputy Chairman are from Lutheran congregations. The current treasurer is Gaetano Marullo from the municipality of Torre Annunziata and Vice-Chairman is Cordelia Vitiello from the Community of Naples. The contribution to the effective management of “Villa Betania” is based exemplified 25 years, for many years, both the Office of the Treasurer and the Head of Administration exercised at the Lutheran tradition, as previously Riccardo Bachrach from Community of Naples.

The Protestant Hospital “Villa Betania” was opened on 20 October 1968. All memeber of the Bureau of European Chruces paticipated in the inauguration ceremony. At that time, the hospital had 84 beds and 4 departments (obstetrics, surgery, medicine and ophthalmology, radiology and medical laboratory).

A first attempt to find a Protestant hospital in Naples, in 1882 was made ​​as a “common fund for the creation of a Protestant hospital” from the Protestant Benevolent Society was established for mutual aid and support. The funds collected over decades, however, were then allocated by the fascist government of the Opera Nazionale Maternità ed Infanzia (Relief for mother and child).

After the Second World War, the idea was taken up again. The decisive factor was the belief, persistence and enthusiasm of the three brothers Fabio, Emanuele and Teofilo Santi – the first was a lawyer, the second was a pastor and the third was a doctor – sons of a Methodist pastor and founder of the Orphanage “Casa Materna” in Portici, Riccardo Santi. In particular, Teofilo Santi organized the network for health care with volunteer doctors and medical students and female students. The organization was active in the war-torn neighborhood of Naples, in the “Rione Sanità”, in the district of the catacombs and Barack waterfront precinct. Also in the vestry of the Protestant churches were established practices.

Teofilo Santi involved the U.S. military chaplains who provided medicines and collected funds for the project (the first $ 30,000 were the beginning of the real estate adventure) and he managed to win over the project in the Evangelical churches and communities of Naples.

On November 21, 1949, the preliminary contract for the purchase of a property in Via Manzoni was signed. The enormous difficulties in obtaining and maintaining the necessary permits could overcome only with the help of Americans.

The idea was presented in 1953 to complete the building until September 15, 1954. Driven by the need to have a school in Naples, they managed to obtain a building permit. On September 12, 1954, the Protestant churches handed over the building, which became the “Sherman Elementary School”.

With the rental income a property in Ponticelli was purchased for the construction of the hospital on November 6, 1962. The land price was 66 million lire and was covered equally by the Congregational churches of North America. The construction dragged on for years, as the work had to be interrupted every time when the finances ran out. The visit of Dr. Leslie Cooke, high personality of the World Council of Churches, brought the desired change. He was accompanied by the Secretary General of the Conference of European Churches, Pastor Glenn Garfield Williams. This had been a military chaplain and his wife was from the Methodist community in Portici. Cooke and Williams appealed to all participating churches and took the project of the Neapolitan hospital on the list of recommended works in 1967.

The donations came from Denmark, the Netherlands (the “Wilden Ganzen”), Sweden and particularly from Germany. The Lutheran congregation in Naples were also active. Its pastor Adolf Lüdemann, ELCI Dean, involved the “Gustav-Adolf-Werk” and – more importantly – the organization, “Bread for the World.” This organization has donated two years with the result, the considerable “woman love gift.” With the first donation, medical devices and equipments were purchased for the hospital. And thus began a new story, which opens in the present excellence of “Villa Betania”.

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