Requiem for New York’s St. Vincent’s Hospital

A community in mourning leaves its messages

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editorial director/interim editor-in-chief 

Each day, Alison Bulman walks by the closed doors of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village on her way to work as the senior editorial coordinator at the American Journal of Nursing. She has watched the number of testimonies left on the doors boarded up in April grow, as former patients leave messages of gratitude, anger, and sorrow for the loss of this 160-year-old institution.  Alison thought they were worth sharing, and we agreed. So she took a great series of photos, which we’ve now collected in AJN‘s Flickr stream.  

My first news story for AJN was about four nurses who worked at St.Vincent’s and who died while vacationing together. And in AJN’s first issue after September 11, 2001, we wrote about St.Vincent’s major role in treating victims and first responders after the attacks on the World Trade Center. 

As a New Yorker and a nurse, I share the sense of loss felt for this venerable institution—not as much for its past as for the loss of a major health care center in a community that depended on it for access to care. The closing of the emergency department has already had repercussions: the Wall Street Journal reported on June 17 that ER visits in the surrounding hospitals were up. And midwives who practiced at St. Vincent’s were left in the lurch without physician back-up agreements (the good news it that this might be resolved shortly—a bill that would grant certified nurse midwives the right to independent practice has passed both houses of the New York State legislature and is waiting for the governor’s signature). 

But check out the photo gallery—the signs posted on the closed doors say it all.

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2016-11-21T13:16:54+00:00 July 6th, 2010|Nursing|9 Comments
Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Veronica S. LaVache May 1, 2012 at 12:46 am

    P.S. I had a sister, Patricia McManus born in St. Vincent’s in 1945. We’ve never met. I am trying to find her but she also was given up for adoption so I don’t know what her last name is now. It’s been a dream of mine for many years and now I just pray it’s not too late. I guess if it’s meant to be, it will happen. I won’t give up!

  2. Veronica S. LaVache May 1, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I couldn’t believe they were closing St. Vincent’s Hospital. I was born there in 1948 then given up for adoption through the N.Y. Foundling Hospital. Many years later I discovered I was born in this hospital. I lived on Governors Island 1978 to 1984. Every time I walked by St. Vincent’s, I would wonder about the woman who gave birth to me here and walked sadly away leaving me behind. I’ve come to realize that she did the right thing, the loving thing. I grew up in loving family, had a wonderful childhood and great education. So, I thank her for what she did so many years ago. I later found out that she died in St. Vincent’s in 1973. A birth and a death all under one roof. I will always love this hospital and keep the memories of it alive forever. It was the only connection I had to her. I was born Veronica McManus.

  3. Veronica McManus September 23, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Please save this historic hospital. I came into this world here.

  4. […] closer to home (home being New York City for AJN), nurses and other former employees of beloved, much needed, but now closed St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village have filed suit for full release of records revealing management’s role […]

  5. Eileen July 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Everyone was treated the same — very poorly. The Bankruptcy Court demanded that every employee be given one month’s pay as “severance”. The hospital had no intention until NYSNA and 1199 SEIU went ballistic. In the past, you were given 1 week pay for each year of service. You were also paid for all unused vacation time.

    We were all in the same boat — take it or leave it. There were some job fairs, but I don’t know anyone who found employment that way. The nurses, mercifully, were pretty much able to find work fairly quickly. But we had nurses who had worked in the hospital their entire career, i.e, 20, 30 years.

    All in all a very sad end.

  6. Shawn July 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Eileen mentions “The “regular employees” were screwed out of vacation pay, severance, and any number of things..”.

    Just what was done for nurses, aides and technicians? Was there a severance package? Has there been any outplacement counseling or assistance in finding other work?

  7. Eileen July 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    As a former, longtime employee, I’m shocked their neither the Attorney General’s Office or the Manhattan DA has looked into this travesty.

    For years there were “consultants”, i.e., “pals” raping this hospital fiscally blind. We had people making up to $400 per hour, and at one point, with only 300 beds in-service, over 45 VPs and SVPs. Most friends of friends.

    I know the Board Chair, Al Smith, was a friend to Spitzer, aka Sheriff of Wall Street, but why no one is investigating this is beyond me. I thought Cuomo would jump right in.

    The “regular employees” were screwed out of vacation pay, severance, and any number of things while the “executives” walked out with their pockets stuffed.

    In addition to the hospital, the surrounding businesses where the doctors, nurses and hospital staff shopped, ate, etc., are all on the brink. Greed is not good…

  8. Patrick July 16, 2010 at 1:23 am

    It’s an absolute travesty that this has occurred. I am working with many people to try and bring back this historic hospital. We Irish built the hospital and I think we should make sure it is brought back to life. I think the Irish government
    Should lend a hand and allocate some funds.
    Irish Americans in the business community and the Irish chamber of commerce should all lend a hand too. Where is the AOH when they are needed? Traditionally the AOH defended the church from attacks and I think they Gould step in and bring the hospital back to life. We Irish Americans are among the richest groups in America today.
    Let’s show our financial power and put our money where our mouth is.

    Mayor bloomberg you should do the same
    And donate a billion of your foundation money rather than rub your hands together and gleefully think about how much more tax money you can get for the city and your croonies.

  9. barbaraglickstein July 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I periodically walk by the boarded up buildings of St. Vincents and read these messages. It is heartbreaking for the entire community. The local newspaper, The Villager, continues to investigate and report on the closure. This week it reported the impact on the local economy and the small businesses that have closed and some that are barely hanging on month to month. This is a local story but one that is being repeated in neighborhoods nationally. AJN is a great place to document these stories so we can read how they are impacting our communities.

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