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Speech of Mr. Nassib Nasr Director General of Hôtel-Dieu de France at the Centennial Launching Ceremony on May 5, 2021

Speech of Mr. Nassib Nasr Director General of Hôtel-Dieu de France at the Centennial Launching Ceremony on May 5, 2021

 

 

 

Mr. Former President of the Republic

Your Excellency, the Minister of Health

Your Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio

Your Excellency, the Ambassador of France

Reverend Monsignors

Reverend Father Provincial

Ministers

Gentlemen/ Your Excellencies the Ambassadors

Presidents of the orders and unions

Presidents and Rectors of Universities

General Directors

Reverend Father Rector of USJ and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hôtel-Dieu de France

Dear colleagues and friends,

It is difficult for me to bear a testimony of the centenary of Hôtel-Dieu de France, having been in my position for only a few months.

 

However, looking back, and discovering the rich history of this hospital that has become a real institution at the national and regional level, gives me and all the medical and administrative teams the hope to continue, the courage to move forward and overcome difficulties and challenges.

History is just an eternal beginning: periods of construction followed by periods of destruction, an age of glory followed by years of misery, moments of hope followed by moments of distress. And as we go through the history of Hôtel-Dieu de France, we notice that there has always been a common denominator: the men and women who have preceded us, 100 years ago, 75 years ago, or 50 years ago, they all had an unshakeable faith in the construction of Lebanon and in the development of the health sector despite wars, crises, and dangers. This faith gave them courage, energy, and above all the passion to persevere, to start over, to rebuild, and to develop future plans.

Lebanon is going through one of the darkest periods it has known since its independence. The worst perhaps, only history will tell.

Our national governance has been largely lacking, the deafening absence of the Government makes our task even more complicated.

When we feel that everything is collapsing, that our dreams are flying away and that there is no more hope, then we look back, we take inspiration from our elders, their optimism, and their will.

And that's when we understand that there is only one option: to stand up and move forward.

 

Our social and humanitarian vocations are no longer debatable. We have a cause, this is our responsibility. We have not endured a hundred years to die today; our moral strength, our faith, our confidence and our exceptional cohesion explain our persistence

Our mission does not give us the right to be weak; we will even raise our level of requirements. The requirements must be permanent and at all levels.

After 10 months of hard work in the office, I have made a major discovery, this place is endearing, and it overwhelms you. At the Hôtel-Dieu there is not one history, but thousands of stories, stories full of heart, often beautiful, moving, sometimes dramatic, and life lessons with one common factor: the well-being of the patient.

For the past 10 months, I have been conducting a candid analysis of the hospital and its components to learn about our strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and opportunities. Seeing the state of the country, some pessimistic souls will say that there is no more hope. I would like to answer them that there is no despair either. If it is necessary to damage us, we will have to fall and we will not fall.

What the last 100 years have taught us is that the times, the scale and the challenges have changed.

What we have learned from the last two years is that the times, the scale and the challenges have also changed. As you can see, the world is moving forward at an incredible speed. It is up to us to adapt, to be flexible, modern and reactive and the same applies to our future.

I would like to end with a sincere thank you:

I salute the historical mission of France, which has always supported the Hospital for 100 years; I thank France for all the support it has given to Hôtel-Dieu following the explosion of August 4. I would like to thank the French Ambassador, Ms. Grillo and her team for always being attentive to our problems and God knows how many they are.

I would like to thank the Chairman of the Board of Directors of HDF, Reverend Father Salim Daccache for his confidence, his advice and his benevolence.

I would like to thank all my colleagues from the medical, nursing and administrative staff.

I would like to thank all the people who worked for the success of this ceremony and for the organization of all the activities that will animate this centennial year.

The members of the centennial committee, USJ and SPCOM, Mr. Naji Boulos our consultant who skillfully managed the organization of this ceremony, Mr. Rabih Kanaan, head of HDF communication unit and his team who did a tremendous job and developed the new visual identity of the Hospital. All the operations teams who make this ceremony happen.

Now, we will watch together a short film about the history of HDF and its common history with the USJ.

I wish you a wonderful evening!

Speech of Prof. Salim Daccache s.j. USJ Rector at the launching ceremony of the 100th anniversary of the Hôtel-Dieu de France on May 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm at Amphithéâtre Obeji

Speech of Prof. Salim Daccache s.j. USJ Rector at the launching ceremony of the 100th anniversary of the Hôtel-Dieu de France on May 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm at Amphithéâtre Obeji

 

 

It is a "serious" joy that fills us in this time of global system crisis in our country, during which we celebrate the inauguration of a centenary year of the concept of creating a hospital like no other. It is a "joy" because it is about celebrating a life or even the existence of an institution that has marked the life of a nation and of a profession for a century, "serious" because we carry a great responsibility for the troubles that threaten our existence and that of a health care system that is enormously struggling.

It is in this atmosphere that I would like to welcome you all Excellencies and Illustrious guests, People of the Hôtel-Dieu and the USJ, to this launching ceremony of the centenary of the Hôtel-Dieu of France and more particularly I would like to welcome Mr. Minister, H.E. the Ambassador of France, Monsignors, Reverend Fr. Provincial of the Society of Jesus in the Near East and the Arab Maghreb. It is in your presence that the celebration takes its meaning and will be for us a lesson of life turned towards the future.

Excellencies, Dear Friends,

Hôtel-Dieu de France was born on May 2, 1922, when General Gouraud, representing the French mandate, the Lebanese governor of Mount Lebanon, Fr. Claudius Chanteur representing the Society of Jesus and Mgr Frédien Giannini, the Apostolic Nuncio of the time, laid the first stone of what that has become a star that continues to shine in the skies of the Near and Middle East and even beyond. Considering the course of events within the context of this birth, one can tell that it was more than complicated. In medical language, the delivery of the newborn was done by caesarean section since the construction of the hospital planned in 1913, following the complications imposed by the First World War and the spoliation by our Ottoman brothers of the raw materials purchased for the construction site, had to be postponed just after the victory of the allies. The booklet you received and which is in your hands tells the story of this birth in detail.

In celebrating a centenary, we dwell on the meaning rather than the form, even if the Hôtel-Dieu de France changed its internal and external form in the course of its history, especially the one given to it in the 1990s after the Lebanese war, with the new buildings dedicated to the names of former rectors such as Frs. Ducruet, Chanteur and Madet, going from a hundred beds in 1923 to 470 today and to 520 as soon as possible, from three or four departments to more than 36 nowadays, and from one building to six at this moment. It is not a matter of show off, nor of making lists of achievements, but of focusing on the meaning of having a hospital, which is heavy in itself, and of looking to the future.

 "Hôtel- Dieu", as the term implies, is a magic word that refers to the welcoming of the passer-by, to charity and hospitality, making the hospital project a mission primarily social in reference to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, where Jesus Christ founded the believer's merit in the Kingdom of God in receiving and visiting the sick: I was sick and you visited me" and also in reference to the Samaritan who carried the wounded man abandoned on the road to the hotel as a symbol of charity. In 1984, the year we signed the long lease for 50 years with the French State for the management of the Hospital by the USJ, it is essentially this spirit that we received as a legacy to maintain, prosper and radiate. May we remember this Hippocratic lesson in every medical or administrative act we undertake.

Secondly, if the foundation of Saint Joseph University was made in 1875 to accompany the development of the city of Beirut as the future capital of an emerging Lebanon and if its first civil faculty was that of medicine in 1883 in addition to the faculty of theology, it was obvious that the development of health care was a major preoccupation for the political and academic authorities in place as well as for the humanitarian missionary institutions, and that the solidity of a nation depended on the good health of its citizens.

One of the reasons that led to the creation of the faculty of medicine was to train people of science, heroic doctors, according to the historian, "who travel the country and fight against the charlatans of all kinds who were engaged in deadly practices against the population suffering from all kinds of diseases".

In fact, didn't Father Chanteur, in his speech on May 2, 1922, say that one of the objectives of the foundation of Hôtel-Dieu was "in the greater good of this country"?

In this troubled period of the Lebanese national life, remembering these words confirms that the hospital is a health mission before everything else as it is intended to seek the deepest good of our country and to give the best care to the largest number of patients, that is to say to more than 18 percent of the Lebanese in search of care, especially those who lack social coverage today.

Hôtel-Dieu cannot be dissociated from one of its fundamental missions of being a clinical university hospital, otherwise it will lose its raison d'être for Saint Joseph University of Beirut. We are aware today, as the administration of the University and the Faculty, as well as the medical community, that in view of the need for international accreditation of the Faculty of Medicine, it is necessary to better forge a strong relationship between the Faculty and the Hospital, based on trust and common interests, between teaching on the benches of the Faculty and working with patients in the Hospital, so that there is continuity and interaction in the act of teaching. A doctor in the hospital is almost automatically an instructor in the Faculty, even if the opposite is not always true since doctors in the hospital do not teach in the faculty but are instructors in the hospital. However, the progress of the Faculty of Medicine in the sense of accreditation can only leave its good marks on the University Hospital, which will strengthen its image and its services to the most varied and complicated healthcare. 

Let's remember a statement by Fr. Chanteur, rector of the University at the time, and the meaning of his statement: "Our hospital will be primarily a teaching hospital, so that the mastery of our doctors and surgeons will not limit its benefits to the patients who will be the direct beneficiaries, but will extend to all of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Persia, Anatolia, and no doubt to all the countries near and far that will send their students to the French faculty of medicine at  Beirut. It is true that times have changed and that medicine in different countries is subject to rather conservative legislation. However, these words which are ours tell us that the progress of a health institution like the Hôtel-Dieu de France, supported by the Faculty and its own attached university institutions represent a determining factor in the progress of the French language and even more so of the presence of the French culture in the whole region of the Near East, but above all a humanistic and beneficent French language that spreads the French-speaking medicine to many countries and nations. Let us at least say that this sentence deserves to be taken up and reflected upon and even meditated upon as to what could be a French cultural policy in this region and what part to give to the Hôtel-Dieu de France, as a home for clinical and scientific research and as a medical university center right here in Beirut, for the Near and Middle East region. "The good fame of France" this statement from the rector's speech of the past and even the one of today still has a place in today's and tomorrow's dictionary.

The Centenary is an opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to the thousands of competent people, doctors, nurses, orderlies, managers and administrative staff, the sisters in office and the fathers serving as chaplains and as board presidents, who have shaped the Hôtel-Dieu.

Dear stakeholders, you have a special place in our minds and hearts because it is you, through your efforts and competences, that will carry the HDF from one centenary to another one that is starting; How not to save a special thought to the donors, donors of yesterday and today who help us to remain active and in full in the social mission through funds if not the social funds of solidarity for patients, as well as for the development of the Hospital, I would like to express our gratitude and recognition.

Indeed, many are those who have reached out to help our hospital during this multiple crisis, alumni of the USJ and the Faculty of Medicine, friends from all over the world, institutions and individuals, foundations and institutions, whether in Lebanon, France, the United States or other countries, who continue to show their solidarity, especially to patients who cannot bear the burden of their treatment. In praising our donors, whether through the USJ/HDF Foundation or more directly to the hospital management, I can only turn to the present moment to appreciate and thank those who have given of their time and intelligence in preparation for today's celebration, if not the entire centennial year, whether it be the hospital communications team or the USJ SPCOM, the hospital administration, or the rector's delegate for marketing. In spite of the crisis, there are still people who point their fingers not to threaten or warn but to point the way forward, the way of salvation and the will to assume victory over the evil committed.

The time and the buildings, the acts and the efforts made, yesterday and today, in times of war and bloodshed, in times of peace and joy of births and deliveries, are all the achievements of women and men who gave the best of themselves and who want and wanted to share the essence of a mission. If a Legion of Honor medal has been awarded to anyone, it is to an entire university and today to a hospital, the HDF, even if not perfect. More than any other institution, the HDF is a joint French and Lebanese pride. The achievement of Hôtel-Dieu de France, is a real pride and a strong promise of continuity of an ever present mission.

More than ever, we are proud of a humanist and scientific culture represented by the Hôtel-Dieu, but also of a heritage that originates from afar and of which we are proud and that we must protect in order to continue and remain alive in the name of Lebanese and French values, consisting of a spirit of resistance in the face of adversity, of bravery in the face of discouragement, of justice in the face of the abandonment of the human being, of unrestricted solidarity in the face of egoism, and of assertive competence and unrestrained loyalty.

Long live Hôtel-Dieu, University Hospital of the USJ

Long live France and long live Lebanon

 

New Nursing Council

New Nursing Council

Congratulations to the new Nursing Council who took office on April 27, 2022 for a 3-year term.

Mrs. Bouchra Bou Khaled, President

Mrs. Darine Sleiman, Vice-President

Ms. Abir Atallah, secretary

Mrs. Carole Mouarkech, treasurer

Ms. Raida Awad, Member

Mrs. Nadine Bou Maroun, member

Mrs. Joelle Ghattas, member

Ms. Rima Kahwaji, Member

Mrs. Jasmin Milan, member

Mrs. Nada Tannous, Member

 The Hôtel-Dieu de France wishes the new Board a fruitful mandate by thanking the former Board for all its efforts and the work accomplished.

An international study in collaboration with the WH

An international study in collaboration with the WH

 

 

The team in pneumology and intensive care at #Hôtel-Dieu de France was able to successfully achieve an international study in collaboration with the WHO that includes several elements related to #COVID and to the need of oxygen. A multidisciplinary team constituted of 10 respiratory therapists, doctors, residents and technicians, was able to collaborate to achieve this goal. A total of 1467 patients were tested and 109 were selected and monitored for a month.

Until now, #Lebanon is one of the 3 countries that were able to finish the study, with a total of 35 countries under study.

The pneumology and intensive care department at Hôtel-Dieu de France was able to prove that it will remain a pioneer in its domain despite all the difficulties the country is facing.

Events

The 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Hôtel-Dieu de Franc

The 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Hôtel-Dieu de Franc

On the 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Hôtel-Dieu de France, the hospital insisted, despi

On the 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Hôtel-Dieu de France, the hospital insisted, despite all the calamities affecting Lebanon, on celebrating a century of challenges, successes and remarkable events since the laying of the foundation stone of the hospital in 1922 by General Gouraud. For this occasion, a ceremony was held on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm at the hospital in the presence of H.E. Mrs. Anne Grillo, Ambassador of France to Lebanon, H.E. Dr. Firas Abiad, Minister of Health and in the presence of diplomatic, political, military and social figures.

 

The ceremony opened with the national anthem, followed by the speech of Mr. Nassib Nasr, General Director of the Hôtel-Dieu de France, in which he insisted: "Our mission does not give us the right to be weak; we will even raise our level of requirements. The requirements must be permanent and at all levels.” He highlighted that: "if there is no hope, there is no despair either", emphasizing on “the social and humanitarian vocations of the hospital" declaring: "We have not endured a hundred years to die today; our moral strength, our faith, our confidence and our exceptional cohesion explain our persistence.

 

A film presenting different periods in the history of the Hôtel-Dieu was screened during the ceremony before the speech of Prof. Salim Daccache s.j., Chairman of the Board of Directors Hôtel-Dieu de France, in which he considered that the medal of the Legion of Honor that was granted to him had been also awarded to the Saint-Joseph University and to the Hôtel-Dieu de France. He insisted on the HDF culture: “More than ever, we are proud of a humanist and scientific culture represented by the Hôtel-Dieu, but also of a heritage that originates from afar and of which we are proud and that we must protect in order to continue and remain alive in the name of Lebanese and French values, consisting of a spirit of resistance in the face of adversity, of bravery in the face of discouragement, of justice in the face of the abandonment of the human being, of unrestricted solidarity in the face of egoism, and of assertive competence and unrestrained loyalty.”

 

 

For his part, the Minister of Health, Dr. Firas Abiad, pointed out the importance of the Hôtel-Dieu de France in the modern history of Lebanon considering that with "hard work and faith in the country, this institution has been able to maintain its pioneering role". The minister focused on the difficult conditions in Lebanon, saying: "Today, we are going through a critical period and circumstances that may be similar to what our country experienced a hundred years ago, a period in which challenges are multiplying and difficult questions are being asked about the health and hospital sector".

 

In her speech on this occasion, H.E. Mrs. Anne Grillo, Ambassador of France to Lebanon, expressed in her speech on this occasion the support of France and the French people to the Hôtel-Dieu by announcing that an exceptional joint support will be granted to the USJ and that a significant donation of medicines is being finalized based on the established needs in order to provide the HDF with the necessary medicines that are not locally available

 

Different members of the HDF community intervened during the ceremony, namely Prof. Roland Tomb, Dean of the USJ Faculty of Medicine, Ass. Prof. Elias Chélala, President of the Medical Council, Mrs. Soha Abdelmalak, former President of the Nursing Council and Mr. Fadi Andréa, President of the Employees' Union.

The event was marked by several musical interludes and was followed by a cocktail and a visit to the temporary exhibition organized especially for the occasion where old medical equipment and photos were featured.

Rcruitment open day

Rcruitment open day

For Labor Day and as part of its mission to foster hope, Hôtel-Dieu de France organized a recruitment open day on Friday

For Labor Day and as part of its mission to foster hope, Hôtel-Dieu de France organized a recruitment open day on Friday, April 29, 2022 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. for nurses, technicians, administrative staff, computer engineers and all people interested in working at the hospital. Hundreds of people presented their CVs during this event where the HDF Employees' Syndicate was also present for a draw with valuable prizes intended for the employees. 

Conference on sexual abuse

Conference on sexual abuse

The Ethics Committee of the Hôtel-Dieu de France, the psychiatry and pediatrics department of the Faculty of Medicine of

The Ethics Committee of the Hôtel-Dieu de France, the psychiatry and pediatrics department of the Faculty of Medicine of Saint Joseph University and of the Hôtel-Dieu de France organized, under the high patronage of the Minister of Health, held a conference on sexual abuse.

The event took place on Thursday, April 28 at the Nadège and Henri Obégi Auditorium at HDF and was moderated by Michel Scheuer s.j. During the conference, Dr. Mathieu Lacambre, psychiatrist from the University Hospital of Montpellier in France, had an intervention on sexual violence prevention.

Furthermore, Dr. Bernard Gerbaka, pediatrician at the Hôtel-Dieu de France presented a multidisciplinary and institutional approach to child sexual abuse. A Q&A session followed the conference.

On World Day of the Sick, Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Mgr Boulos Abdel Sater, visits HDF

On World Day of the Sick, Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Mgr Boulos Abdel Sater, visits HDF

For the World Day of the Sick, the Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Mgr Boulos Abdel Sater, visited the patients of the Hôtel-Dieu de France, accompanied by the chairman of the board of directors of the HDF, Prof. Salim Daccache s.j. before presiding the mass concelebrated with priests of the hospital, in the presence of the General Director of the HDF Mr. Nassib Nasr, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Prof. Roland Tomb and the members of the administrative body as well as nurses and doctors.

After the Gospel reading, Mgr. Abdel Sater delivered a touching homely concerning this occasion:

“First of all, I would like to thank the hospital administration for inviting me to celebrate the Eucharist and to participate in the prayer on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick. The hospital is a sacred place as it witnesses the pain of many people who endure and bear their suffering with hope and faith. It is an honor for me to be present today in this sacred place where so many saints glorify the Lord through their faith in a time of hardship and difficulty.

I would also like to thank the hospital's board of directors for inviting me to share this moment with you, doctors, nurses and members of the administrative council. You bear the pain of your suffering brothers and sisters and try, through your sacrifices, your experience and all the graces that the good Lord has granted you, to alleviate them in order to lead a better life.

We rarely make the sign of the cross when passing by a hospital, as our ancestors used to do when walking by a shrine or a church. The hospital is, after all, a place of life and a place of love where doctors mobilize all their energy and abilities to give life by the grace of God, and employees are committed to serving and caring for the sick, motivated by love. Brothers and sisters, your first role is to do what Jesus Christ did when he "...bore our sufferings and infirmities..." so that you may bear the sufferings and infirmities of the patients you care for. God values your love and presence with your patients before any medical achievement you might attain, despite its importance. I thank you wholeheartedly for your sacrifices and your willingness to be messengers of love despite the many difficulties and challenges that you encounter on a daily basis in your personal and professional life. You are the living proof of God's presence and love in the life of each patient.”

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