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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 18:54 GMT
The Gemelli: The Pope's hospital
The Gemelli hospital in Rome, Italy
The hospital has been besieged by the international media
The Gemelli hospital where Pope John Paul II is being treated is a vast Catholic teaching hospital.

The pontiff's hospital of choice, it has become known as "The Third Vatican" after the Holy See and his summer home at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.

The Pope is staying in one of a suite of rooms on the tenth floor of the hospital reserved for his use.

The papal apartments include a chapel, a kitchen and sleeping quarters for his entourage of nuns and Vatican staff.

The hospital, in northern Rome, takes its name from Franciscan theologian and doctor, Agostino Gemelli, who founded the Catholic University in 1922.

Vast

The complex, which stretches across 37 hectares (90 acres) on the edge of a national park and includes a church, research laboratories, a bank, a library and a barbers', was officially opened in 1964.

POPE'S HEALTH SCARES
May 1981 - shot in stomach and hand during assassination attempt in St Peter's Square
July 92 - undergoes surgery to remove intestinal tumour
92 - symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear
Nov 93 - dislocates shoulder during fall from stairs
Apr 94 - suffers broken right thigh bone
Dec 95 - misses Christmas mass for the first time because of flu
March and Aug 96 - cancels public engagements because of fevers of "digestive nature"
Oct 96 - undergoes surgery to remove appendix
June 99 - cancels open-air mass in Poland after fall
March 02 - cancels public engagements because of flare-up of arthritis in right knee
Sept 03 - cancels engagements because of intestinal ailment
Feb 05 - has week in hospital after falling ill with flu, readmitted after relapse two weeks later

Doctors at the clinic helped save the pontiff's life when he suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen during a 1981 assassination attempt.

He has since returned to the hospital for medical treatment several times, including surgery to remove an intestinal tumour in 1992 and an operation to take out his appendix in 1996.

The hospital has some 1,900 beds, divided between two sites, and employs a total of 5,000 members of staff including doctors, nurses and administrative staff.

Despite tight security outside the complex, where swarms of journalists and well-wishers have gathered, hospital officials say hospital activities continue as normal.

"The tenth floor - where the papal apartments are located - is only partially closed," hospital spokesman Nicola Cerbino said.

"Those who need to be treated here still are, there's no change for the hospital."




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Catholics have been praying for the Pope's health



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