This year we cannot either use the marquee or let patients participate. Even though Coronavirus infection rates are falling throughout Italy, we still have to take precautions. On 22 June, the Order of Malta’s patron saint was celebrated – in the open and in respect of Covid-19 regulations – in the St. John the Baptist hospital in Rome managed by the Italian Association.
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Pope Francis’ special delegate, celebrated mass for the hospital staff and heads of the Italian Association. The Lieutenant ad-interim, Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas, attended with members of the Sovereign Council, heads of the Grand Priory of Rome, of the Italian Relief Corps and of the Military Corps of the Order of Malta.
After the celebrations, Cardinal Becciu blessed the outpatient clinic, accompanied by the Lieutenant ad-interim, Grand Hospitaller Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel and President of the Order of Malta’s Italian Association, Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo. Completely renovated and with updated equipment, the new clinic has all the precautions in place for reducing the risk of infection from diseases such as Covid-19.
“As well as expressing my recognition and gratitude,” said Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas in his brief address “may I also say I am moved by the wise decision to dedicate this clinic to the memory of our late Grand Master, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre. Many times this St. John the Baptist hospital has witnessed the expression of his faith in our Order’s mission. Many times, as a simple volunteer, he came here to help the sick, comfort their families and give words of appreciation and encouragement to the medical staff. I am certain that his benevolent gaze will continue to protect the hospital, its doctors, its patients, its directors and volunteers,” he concluded.
The new outpatient clinic
With a surface area of 1000 square metres on two floors, the new outpatient clinic – used almost exclusively by external patients – offers medical examinations and diagnostic techniques in many sectors including cardiology, orthopaedics, otorhinolaryngology, gastroenterology, diabetology and ophthalmology. Particular attention has been paid to the entrance and reception pathways. Three waiting rooms and seven check-in desks on two floors – as well as the twenty-six outpatient rooms – enable triage and medical attention to be performed in secure conditions. Examinations and analyses are currently only by appointment.
Thanks to doctors and staff
The afternoon had started with a ceremony to thank the doctors and staff of the hospital for their work during the Coronavirus emergency. Apart from a few initial cases of patients who tested positive to the virus, transferred and cured in specialised facilities, the precautions adopted and rigorously applied protected both patients and staff. “The ability of all of you,” said the Lieutenant ad-interim, “to manage the Coronavirus emergency and enable the hospital to continue to operate in secure conditions is yet another demonstration of your competence and your dedication.”