After more than 150 years of servicing the surrounding community and acting as a New York City landmark, St. Vincent's Hospital has shut its doors. Leaving many in the lower Manhattan area without convenient emergency room access, it was after months of uncertainty the facility made the ultimate decision.
After months of uncertainty, on April 30, 2010 one of the busiest full service emergency rooms in New York City will cease operations.
This will bring to an end the long history of St. Vincent's Hospital, founded in the mid 1800's and will leave a big area of Lower Manhattan with hundreds of thousands of residents and office workers without an emergency care center within reach.
The hospital, facing a financial crisis, has been the focus of a long battle, including protests by community members who have rallied for its survival, protesting the closure of its in-patient facilities and stressing there is no other emergency care center to deal with life threatening cases in the area.
In response to the hospital's closure the city's Fire Department has increased the number of ambulances in service to make up for the extra driving time to alternate emergency rooms.
The closing of St Vincent's ER will also stress other facilities. Hundreds of jobs were lost and the side-effects of the hospital's closure will be felt by local businesses.
New York's governor Patterson announced earlier this week that funds have become available for a replacement emergency clinic, although the location and the time it will take to have it fully operational are not clear.
Neighborhood residents gathered over the weekend and the past few days to express their opposition to the closing of the hospital.
They also recalled the hospital's role during the first hours after the terrorist attacks of September, 2001, and the Wall of Remembrance that was set up in an outdoor hallway (picture 9) with photographs of the victims.
A letter posted near the entrance to the Emergency Room reads:
"Effective Friday April 30th at 8am the Emergency Department of Saint Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan will cease all operations. As of that date patients will no longer be seen in the Emergency Department, nor will they be admitted to the hospital."
It refers people with a medical emergency to alternate facilities.
St, Vincent's Hospital was located in New York City's Greenwich Village.