Farewell to St. Vincent's

The New York Times offered some great coverage of the events and emotions surrounding the final days of St. Vincent's Hospital, which closed for good this past Friday. Staff gathered for a Mass and barbeque and offered each other support. And while many mourned the loss, they also remembered the good the hospital has done.

St. Vincent’s was inexorably defeated, [said Sister Miriam Kevin Phillips, known as Sister Kevin, a nurse and a nun with the Sisters of Charity,] by its devotion to the poor and by the transformation of the Village from a home for immigrants and the working class to a neighborhood filled with wealthy people who were drawn to more prestigious academic medical centers.

Advertisement

She had seen it with her own eyes, as a lifelong Village resident, and as a nurse and later senior vice president for mission at St. Vincent’s. “As the population changed, the type of patient who came into St. Vincent’s changed too,” Sister Kevin said.

The exodus of Village residents to other hospitals is backed up by State Health Department data, which show that before the closing, the 11 nearest zip codes accounted for only 37 percent of St. Vincent’s patients. When the Titanic sank, Sister Kevin said, the Sisters of Charity wired the rescue ship, the Carpathia, that St. Vincent’s ambulances would be waiting at the dock, but would take only passengers from steerage. They knew, she said, that the rich passengers would be taken care of.

Like almost everyone saying goodbye, Sister Kevin said that St. Vincent’s had shaped her life. Living on West 13th Street as a teenager, she admired the nurses in their crisp uniforms and determined to become one of them.

The Times also offered an audio slideshow containing some moving accounts from long-time staff members, who recalled their years of service at the hospital, as well as a second slideshow containing images of an artist's interpretation of St. Vincent's final days.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

 Pope Francis and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stand outside the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, Jan.19.(CNS photo//Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
“The degradation of the environment...cannot be separated from the moral degradation of our communities.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
The U.S. bishops had an unusually busy year issuing positive and negative statements about the new president, but some hoped for more decisive action against his policies.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018
Transgender patients “need to know they are welcome and they will not be looked down upon” if they come to Catholic institutions seeking treatment, says Sister Carol Keehan.
Kevin ClarkeJanuary 19, 2018
Francis is the first pope to come to the Amazon region, and he insisted that his first event and major speech of his visit to Peru should be to this place.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 19, 2018