December 31, 2018

Positivity: There’s room for newborn babies at Bethlehem’s Catholic hospital

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Bethlehem, Palestine:

Dec 20, 2018 / 10:34 am

For almost two millennia, Christian pilgrims have come to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to pray, remembering the special place where Jesus Christ was born.

A half mile away from the Nativity Church, the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem also strives to be a special place for newborn babies, and their families.

“The doors are open to everyone, regardless of creed or need,” Michele Burke Bowe, a hospital board member who is president of the linked Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation, told CNA.

“The most important thing to know is that it’s a Catholic teaching hospital that’s 1,500 steps away from the manger where Christ was born.”

Beneath the Church of the Nativity is a large cave network, where Jesus Christ is said to have been born. According to the Gospel of Luke, Joseph and the Virgin Mary had to place Jesus in a manger because there was no room at an inn.

“To me it’s the most beautiful Catholic mission: to be able to say ‘yes, we have room,’ and to be able to take care of those babies and their mothers,” Bowe said.

Bowe, a mother of five and an economist by training, is originally from Washington, D.C. She also serves as an ambassador of the Order of Malta to the State of Palestine.

The Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem was originally founded as a general hospital in the 1880s by the Daughters of Charity. It was forced to close in the mid-1980s.

Later that decade, it re-opened as a maternity hospital, under the oversight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

The hospital now helps to deliver close to 4,500 babies per year. Most of the mothers are Muslim, while others are Palestinian Christians.

“The demand is just growing. We’re the only hospital that can care for any baby born before 32 weeks,” Bowe said.

The hospital has a capacity of 62 beds, including an 18-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is the only health provider for high-risk pregnancies in the Bethlehem district in Palestine’s West Bank.

About ten percent of the hospital’s newborns must go to the NICU, a higher rate than regular hospitals because it accepts all cases with complications or emergencies.

At the same time, the hospital has a very low mortality rate. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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