Holy Family Hospital, Mumbai, evolved purely out of the need to serve the complex and growing needs of Mumbai’s suburbs. What started as a private nursing home has since developed into a multi-specialty hospital and medical research centre under the stewardship of two religious congregations.
The hospital’s humble beginnings date back to 1942, when Dr Austin Da Silva opened a 10-bed private nursing home called ‘Silverene’ in suburban Bandra. Over the next decade, the healthcare needs of suburban Mumbai grew manifold, and to fill the void for a professional hospital, ‘Silverene’ was handed over to the Medical Mission Sisters in 1953.
The congregation expanded the nursing home to accommodate 22 beds and rechristened it as the ‘Holy Family Hospital’. The congregation embraced its new mission with zeal and set a fine tradition in community healthcare with a special emphasis on maternity care. The hospital thus grew from a local, need-based clinic to a modest institution that catered to the general medical needs of Mumbai’s extended suburbs.
Over the next two and a half decades, the demographics of Mumbai’s suburbs changed dramatically. They became more complex and as the population grew, so did healthcare requirements.
Also, at this juncture, the Medical Mission Sisters preferred to focus on rural rather than urban healthcare. It was time to take another leap of faith. Thus, along with a detailed survey of community health needs, the Medical Mission Sisters passed the baton to the Congregation of the Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate in 1978.
Funds were raised both locally and abroad under the aegis of Dr (Sr) Maria Giovanna Alberoni, affectionately called ‘Mother Giovanna’. This opened a critical chapter in the institution’s history, marking the transition from a modest nursing home to a hospital that delivered state-of-the-art diagnostics & treatment, emergency care, preventive medicine, and teaching and research initiatives.
As the new dream took shape, the foundation stone of a four-storey building was laid in 1982. It was inaugurated on November 17, 1985, as a 120-bed hospital.
Mother Giovanna, a doctor herself, realised that efficient medical care as well as scientific evaluation were prerequisites to maintaining professional standards. She therefore embraced the idea of a research centre, and it was with great pride that she presided over the opening of this prestigious arm of the hospital in 1987.
Projects undertaken by the Medical Research Centre extend from fertility awareness and natural family planning to the evaluation of hospital facilities such as the value of endoscopic surgery, its pros and cons, as well as studies on hospital post-operative infection and prevalence of dementia in the community.
Apart from the main divisions, the hospital also added more and more specialties and patient facilities, continuously expanding its reach and services to the community. These include high-quality endoscopy, paediatrics, cardiology, respiratory medicine, psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery. With an eye on holistic medicine, the hospital also opened a special homeopathic clinic with highly qualified doctors.
Simultaneously, infrastructure and medical technology were upgraded and the hospital building expanded to become the 268-bed institution it is today.
During its journey, the hospital has achieved several milestones. One of these was the setting up of The Holy Family Heart Institute in 2002, a pioneer in cardiac diagnostics, treatment and research.
Rapidly going from strength to strength, the hospital flagged off three more red-letter days. In April 2005, we inaugurated the Holy Family Institute of Nursing Education; in August 2005; we admitted our first batch of post-graduate DNB resident medical officers.