BY Michelle Garcia
February 17 2010 7:55 PM ET
Located on the border of the Manhattan neighborhoods of Chelsea and Greenwich Village, St. Vincent’s Medical Center has been at the forefront of care in treating New York’s tragedies, epidemics, and crises since it opened in 1849. But now, as the city reels from recession, the legendary hospital is on the verge of closing its doors permanently, leaving thousands of people living with AIDS without their primary care facility.
“St. Vincent’s shutting down leaves a huge hole in New York City,” said Ken Fornataro, the director of the AIDS Treatment Data Network. “This is one of the major places in the city where anyone can get AIDS care.”
In addition to treating Titanic survivors and those injured in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, St. Vincent’s was the epicenter of care for New York’s HIV-positive gay men during the early ’80s. The Sisters of Charity, the Catholic nuns who established St. Vincent’s, insisted their teaching hospital take anyone who needed care, regardless of financial circumstances.
But as gentrification changed New York in the 1990s, local residents skipped over the aging St. Vincent’s in favor of better funded hospitals like Memorial Sloan Kettering or Lennox Hill Hospital; at a landmarks preservation hearing in 2008, actress Susan Sarandon said she wouldn’t even bring her children there. St. Vincent’s has been in such dire financial straits lately that it was forced to take several multi-million dollar loans from the state. A proposed deal in February to have a hospital network take over St. Vincent’s failed, resulting in the facility preparing to close its inpatient and emergency room care, and possibly shut down completely.
- Buck Angel Shuts Down Transgender Surgery Fundraising Site
- PHOTOS: 6 Couples Australia's High Court Says Aren't Married Anymore
- WATCH: The Best of LGBT Chorus Holiday Music
- WATCH: Right Wing Swoons Over Antigay Colo. Baker Ready to Go to Jail for Jesus
- WATCH: Trailer for the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending Premieres Online
- 10 Snarky Quotes That Will Make You Miss Michael Kors on Project Runway
- Marriage Equality Australia's High Court Says These Couples Aren't Married December 11 2013 8:37 PM
- Women Meet Gender Scientist Anne Fausto-Sterling December 11 2013 7:42 PM
- Women WATCH: Michelle Chamuel Returns to The Voice with 'Go Down Singing' December 11 2013 7:10 PM
- Politics Mich. Governor Condemns RNC Member's Latest Antigay Remark December 11 2013 7:01 PM
- Marriage Equality WATCH: Right Wing Swoons Over Antigay Baker December 11 2013 6:45 PM
- Travel What Airline Scored 100% on HRC's Corporate Equality Index? December 11 2013 6:44 PM
- Entertainment News The Queer Quotient at the SAG Awards December 11 2013 6:03 PM