The Italian Almanac

Policlinico Gemelli

Italian News - February 3

Since May 1981, when the Pope nearly died after being shot in the abdomen by a Turkish gunman, an ambulance equipped with respirators and an electrocardiogram has been on standby at the Vatican to take him to the Gemelli hospital, which is 3˝ miles away.

The Gemelli, properly called the Policlinico Agostino Gemelli, is a 1,800-bed teaching hospital in the Rome suburb of Pineta Sacchetti, where the Pope underwent emergency surgery after the assassination attempt.

He has exclusive use of a suite of rooms on the tenth floor. In addition to the Pope’s room, which is simply, even austerely furnished, the suite contains a chapel, with a copy of the revered image of the Black Madonna, from Czestochowa, in the Pope’s native Poland. It also contains two sitting rooms, with sofas, easy chairs and televisions, and a kitchen-cum- dining-room.

There is a room for the two devoted Polish nuns who care for the Pope and act as his housekeepers, and rooms for Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, his Polish secretary, who never leaves the Pope’s side.