Dominicans open hospital in Peru to serve the poor

Patient in hospital Credit Chaikom Shutterstock CNA Chaikom/Shutterstock.

A Dominican province in Peru has converted its formation house for aspirants in Lima into a hospital.

The Hospital of the Charity of Saint Martin de Porres was blessed at a dedication ceremony Jan. 23.

The hospital is headed by Fr. Luis Enrique Ramírez Camacho and Fr. Rómulo Vásquez Gavidia, the current prior provincial.

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language news partner, Ramírez explained the inspiration for the hospital came from the charitable example of both their founder St. Dominic and St. Martin de Porres.

The Dominicans did not want "just to devote ourselves to academic and intellectual affairs but also to dedicate ourselves to serving those most in need."

Ramirez said that for years they have been conducting free healthcare campaigns but that they wanted  to do something "more concrete and developed," which led to the idea of the new hospital.

"Everything the Church does in general and that we Dominicans do in particular is done on a non-profit basis (…)  Charity is ultimately the guide that all we, in general, Catholic Christians, are called to. And St. Martin de Porres set a particularly great example that we are invited to follow," said Ramírez. "I think he understood perfectly what our father St. Dominic did," he added.

Ramirez encouraged the hospital's staff  always to bear in mind the humanity of the people they are serving, that "this is a human being who is suffering, who came to where you are to get relief."

"Let us hope that here in our small hospital of the Charity of Saint Martin De Porres that people really experience that, just as St. Martin recognized in the suffering and needy person the face of our Lord Jesus who needs us," he said.

The hospital's director, Dr.  Valiery Cersso Vergara, recalled that St. Martin de Porres "didn't hesitate to transform the Saint Dominic convent where he worked into an infirmary," and that the saint "had a deep sense of charity. And that is what charity is, to look after other people, for their health and well-being … That's what struck me when they called on me to set up the hospital."

"Specialists will be coming here who are going to give their time to care for people in complete charity and it's that sense of charity that leads us to the quality of the healthcare services," Cersso said.

The hospital operates on a management model that allows it to cover the cost of caring for low income people. Some of the staff will work for less than what they normally receive, while others are able to work pro bono.  

"That is the meaning of the Hospital of the Charity of St. Martin de Porres,"  Ramirez explained, adding that added that "the charges are very moderate, but if the social worker determines that someone really can't pay, then there's a way to be treated for free."

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