LHL, the National Association for Heart and Lung Diseases, was founded in 1943, under the name of the Tuberculosis Relief Society (THO). Tuberculosis was then a major disease group in Norway, and around 10,000 Norwegians suffered from tuberculosis every year. Therefore, a group of idealistic persons identified the need for an organization that could fight for their interests and rights. One of the biggest challenges was to overcome people's fear of infection and the consequent exclusion from society.
The Tuberculosis Relief Society fought for many important social policy issues. The first goals achieved were better treatment options and living conditions, employment and social security and the construction of a vocational school for people that had suffered from tuberculosis.
Today tuberculosis is a rare disease in Norway, and those affected get good treatment and survive. The school is still in operation though, and now the students a persons with other types of disabilities.
After the decrease of tuberculosis, a new group of diseases emerged: cardiovascular diseases - hearth disease, peripheral arterial disease and stroke. During the 1970ies and the 1980ies medical and surgical treatment for heart disease improved. In Norway the capacity for heart surgery was limited and in the 1980ies it was established an air bridge where patients and health personnel were flown to United Kingdom for treatment. Again the idealists of LHL took action. They argued that it was unacceptable that Norway was unable to give adequate treatment to its own citizens. LHL at that time had a conference center one hours drive outside Oslo. This was transformed to at hearth hospital by building operating theatres and other facilities together with the congress center. Then the Feiring heart hospital opened in 1989.
Due to the smoking epidemic in the western countries, other types of lung diseases such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease have increased over the last decades. Glittre Sanatorium was a tuberculosis sanatorium, and went on to become a general lung hospital after World War II. The government operated the hospital until 1990, then LHL took over the buildings and started a modern lung hospital for rehabilitation.
In addition to LHL Hospital Gardermoen, LHL owns and runs rehabilitation hospitals in both Bergen and Nærland (outside Stavanger).
Our hospitals are for historically reasons mainly located in rural communities. Over the last years it has been LHL strategy to change this. We want to have hospitals in urban areal – LHL wants to be where people live their lives.