NEW YORK (CBS 2) — There were thousands of broken hearts in Greenwich Village Friday. St. Vincent’s, a beloved hospital, shut its doors after serving the community for almost 160 years, CBS 2’s Magee Hickey reports.
There were tears and hugs as the hospital’s signs were removed and the facility was officially shut down. Residents grieved together outside. They mingled with some of the 3,500 hospital employees who are now out of work.
“It’s a disaster. What’s important in our city? In our lives? Taking care of the people who live here. It’s a disaster,” said actor and local resident, F. Murray Abraham.
Added Warren Isensee, another village resident: “I actually got kind of emotional. My son was born here. We live up the block.”
An urgent care center will be the only medical lifeline to serve the community. Although it will be open 24/7, it will only treat minor injuries. The center will be run by the Lenox Hill Hospital.
Many said that what made St. Vincent’s special, like the cutting edge elder care and the AIDS treatment programs, will now be lost and the community will suffer.
“Ultimately this is not about hospital beds. It’s about a community of caregivers and inventors of programs that pervade this community,” said Dr. Fred Siegal.
Rebecca Lee, an emergency room technician said: “It sounds trite, but it’s the people here. It’s the community. We loved working together. We had a lot of fun.”
A few of St. Vincent’s programs will continue to serve the area for a little while.
“It’s important that the public know that the certified home health agency, St. Vincent’s Home Care is open. There’s at least 50 employees that have jobs,” said Debbie McLam.
There are those who haven’t given up hope. There will be a community town hall meeting Friday night to continue the fight for St. Vincent’s to remain open.