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Hospital History

History of the Saint - Louis Hospital


Thanks to the French influence, around the year 1980, there is a rise of the Christian religious orders in Jerusalem. The majority is French and contributes to the urban development. The congregation of Sisters de Saint-Joseph of the Apparition is the first community that works in Jerusalem, since 1948.


The sisters arrange a hospital, made up of three rooms, within the Latin Patriarchate. Unfortunately, the lack of place and discomfort make this location intolerable. With the assistance of the patronage of the count of Piellat, a bigger hospital is built outside the ramparts of the city. It is located opposite the New Gate, opened in 1889 in order to allow a direct access to the recently established Christian institutions. The hospital starts to function in 1880, but is completed only in 1896 and can then receive a hundred patients. As a general hospital, it is equipped with a dispensary. An operating room and a service of hospitalization.


The care is given to all, Jews, Christians and Moslem, without any distinction. At that time the Holy Land is still under the Othman domination. This sovereignty ends in 1917, replaced by the British mandate that will last until 1948. This year, the proclamation of independence of the state of Israel and the war that followed had important consequences for the Saint-Louis Hospital. The fights end in 1949. A line of demarcation divides Jerusalem in two parts. Jordan annexes the old city, to the east. The Saint Louis Hospital, at the west, is located Israeli side, just on the border that only people provided with a white flag and an authorization assigned by the United Nations is allowed to cross.


(Anecdote: one day, the denture of a patient falls by the window into the frank zone. One could recover denture only thank to the escort of a delegation on UNO... and with flag!)


In front of the isolation of the patients who live the Eastern side of the city and cannot go any more to the hospital Saint-Louis, the Sisters make build, in 1956, a new hospital. This one, the Saint Joseph Hospital, is located in Jerusalem-east and can meet the needs of the local populations, mainly Arab. In 1951 the  Saint Louis Hospital specializes in the care of cancer patients with the support of the Israeli Health service. The hospital counts 40 beds, it cares for patients suffering of cancer or other diseases, at the end of their lives.



Since the appearance of AIDS, the hospital also receives the patients who suffer from it. Until 1990 Saint-Louis Hospital was the only one of this category in Jerusalem. Since, other institutions were born.


Today, we have 50 beds. We look after, in addition to the already quoted affections, patients suffering from chronic diseases, old people after a vascular cerebral accident, patients in coma or suffering of bedsores. We care for patients, without discrimination of any kind. The personnel count about sixty people, and volunteers arrive from all the corners of the world.