Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hotel Dieu, Paris

The Hôtel-Dieu or “Hostel of God” is one of the oldest still operating hospitals in the world. Located next to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Hôtel-Dieu was founded in 651 to offer food, shelter, and medical care to the poor. For many centuries it was the only hospital in Paris and it had a terrible reputation. In the 1700s, there was often one bed for every five patients and a quarter of the patients who entered the hospital died of diseases they caught there. The hospital was damaged numerous times throughout the centuries by fire and war.  Baron Haussmann moved the Hôtel-Dieu to its current location during his transformation of Paris in the mid-1800s.  The present structure was built in 1877 and with its construction the quality of care also improved. (It also helped that other hospitals opened in Paris.)  Today Hôtel-Dieu is still the first casualty center for emergency cases in Paris and it has approximately 350 beds (with one patient per bed).

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