Statement by Senator Judith G.Seidman on Montreal's Jewish General Hospital

Senators' Statements

Montreal's Jewish General Hospital

June 7, 2016


The Honourable Senator Judith Seidman :

Honourable senators, I rise to advise the Senate of the significant achievements of Montreal's Jewish General Hospital and to congratulate the hospital on the recent opening of its new and innovatively designed acute-care wing, Pavillion K.

Pavillion K is the largest, most complex and most ambitious expansion project in the 81-year history of the hospital, also known as the JGH. During a single day of intense activity this past January, 203 patients were efficiently and carefully moved from the legacy building into Pavillion K, the new JGH home for Adult Intensive Care, Neonatal Intensive Care, Coronary Care, the Family Birthing Centre, the operating rooms and numerous other units and services.

Two years earlier, the ground floor of Pavillion K was launched as the new site of the hospital's ultra-modern emergency department, one of the busiest such facilities in Quebec.

The opening of Pavillion K is the latest chapter in the evolution of the JGH, one of Quebec's largest, busiest and most renowned health care institutions. Launched in 1934, the 637-bed JGH is the McGill University teaching hospital, the site of one of Quebec's top regional cancer centres and one of Canada's leading research facilities.

With a staff of more than 5,100 — including 697 attending doctors and 1,636 nurses — the JGH annually handles more than 706,000 outpatient visits, over 84,000 emergency visits, nearly 12,000 surgical procedures and delivery of approximately 3,700 babies. In addition, it benefits from the activities of at least 1,000 volunteers.

The JGH was founded by Montreal's Jewish community and was inspired by Jewish values, including a deep reverence for life, an emphasis on treating the patient as a whole person rather than as a collection of symptoms and involving family members in the patient's physical and psychosocial well-being. To complement this Jewish heritage, the hospital has always welcomed patients and staff of all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In fact, the JGH was among the earliest public health care institutions in Quebec to officially adopt a non-sectarian, non-discriminatory policy.

Initially, the hospital served the many immigrant Jewish families who settled nearby in the first half of the 20th century. Over the coming decades, through new waves of immigration, the hospital has continued to safeguard the health and well-being of a multitude of newcomers. It has been estimated that more than half of all immigrants who come to Montreal from other countries settle in the vicinity of the Jewish General Hospital.

Although French and English are the primary languages of this officially bilingual hospital, a recent survey found that at least 90 languages can be heard in the JGH over the course of a typical year.

In conclusion, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Jewish General Hospital on its latest expansion and its history of excellence. Thank you.