St. Vincent's Hospital officially closes up shop

April 30, 2010 3:23:57 PM PDT
It's the end of an era in Lower Manhattan, as St. Vincent's hospital, which opened in the 1800s, shut its doors for good on Friday. Thousands of people are out of work, and the Greenwich Village neighborhood is experiencing a painful loss.

The hospital shut down at 8 a.m. The only patients who remain are in hospice care, until they can be relocated. For all of those who relied on St. Vincent's for so many years, it's an emotional day.

"St. Vincent's is my home and the people I work with are my family," ER nurse Nancy McGuire said. "It's been taken away from me now."

McGuire has worked at the hospital for 39 years. She was also born there. On Thursday, she received a pink slip. More than 3,500 others are also losing their jobs.

"It's like a death," head nurse Dominique Sicile said. "You have people who have been here forever, and they're actually walking through the er on their final walk."

Since 2005, when the troubled hospital filed for bankruptcy, there has been a fight to keep St. Vincent's going. But that fight proved too difficult to win.

Ambulance coverage will be increased by 15 percent in the areas once served by St. Vincent's. Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital will join the FDNY in providing the extra ambulances.

St. Vincent's will be turned into an urgent care facility in about two months. New York state awarded Lenox Hill Hospital more than $9 million to open a 24-hour urgent care center for the next five years.