The Latest: Head of Vatican hospital can’t believe concerns
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, the subject of an AP investigation (all times local):
The president of the Vatican’s children’s hospital says she cannot believe the health care concerns reported by employees in an Associated Press report, but says the news agency did its job and that she respected the work.
Mariella Enoc conceded she wasn’t at Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital at the time the reported problems occurred, but said the climate has changed since she took over in 2015.
Enoc spoke to reporters Tuesday, a day after AP reported that the mission of the “pope’s hospital” had shifted under the past administration to focus on profits over childcare.
The AP reported that a secret Vatican-commissioned investigation had come to that conclusion and found violations of basic medical protocols. The Vatican secretary of state confirmed past problems but said Enoc’s administration was resolving them.
The Vatican secretary of state is acknowledging there were past problems at “the pope’s hospital” for children, but says the new administration is currently making a “serious effort to resolve them.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin said some of the problems identified by current and former staff in 2014 were “truly unfounded.” But responding to an Associated Press investigation on Tuesday, he said that for the problems that were verified, “there was an attempt, and there is currently an attempt and serious effort to resolve them.”
Parolin was responding to an AP Press report that found that under its previous 2008-2015 administration, the mission of Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital had shifted to focus on profits over caring for young patients.
A Vatican-commissioned report came to that conclusion in 2014 after a three-month investigation, although a subsequent three-day Vatican probe found the hospital was in many ways “best in class.”
The Vatican secretary of state is praising the “pope’s hospital” for children as a community that blends specialized treatment with the welcoming atmosphere of a family.
At a presentation of the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital’s annual report, Cardinal Pietro Parolin urged the hospital to “continue in the path taken of scientific excellence, rigor and transparency.”
Parolin said Bambino Gesu must in coming years find more space and new organizational models so it can continue providing care for its young patients.
He made no reference to an Associated Press report that found that under its previous 2008-2015 administration, the mission of “the pope’s hospital” had shifted to focus on profits over caring for young patients.
A Vatican commissioned report came to that conclusion in 2014 after a three-month investigation, though a subsequent three-day Vatican probe found the hospital was in many ways “best in class.”
Parolin said Pope Francis had asked him to convey to the hospital’s new management his “esteem, trust and continued closeness.”
Italy’s health minister is lauding the Vatican’s children’s hospital as a leading pediatric research center where children are treated with “great love and great competence.”
Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin made no reference to an Associated Press report published Monday that found that under its previous 2008-15 administration, the mission of “the pope’s hospital” shifted its focus from caring for young patients to making a profit. A Vatican-commissioned report came to that conclusion after a three-month investigation, though a subsequent three-day Vatican probe found it was in many ways “best in class.”
During a presentation Tuesday of the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital’s annual report, Lorenzin said she was proud that such a hospital is found in Italy. She said: “I have met your little patients, some of whom come from around the world, who are treated with great love and great competence.”
The Vatican’s children’s hospital is releasing its annual report after denouncing as a “hoax” an Associated Press investigation that found its mission shifted under its past administration to focus more on profits than on its small patients.
The president of the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital and senior medical officials were scheduled to present the report Tuesday in the presence of the Vatican secretary of state and Italy’s health minister.
The previous day, the AP revealed that staff complained to the Vatican in early 2014 that corners were being cut, safety protocols ignored and children put at risk in a push for profits, prompting two secret Vatican-commissioned investigations.
The hospital called the AP’s report a “hoax” that “contained false, dated and gravely defamatory accusations and conjectures. It threatened legal action.