Main | Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On The End Of St. Vincent's

As I mentioned earlier this month, St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan's West Village is set to close in bankruptcy very shortly. New York Magazine's David France reflects on St. Vincent's role in the early years of the AIDS pandemic.
The obituary for St. Vincent’s, when it is finally written, will recall that the hospital’s greatest moment—and its darkest—came in the eighties, as it found itself quite awkwardly in the thick of the global AIDS plague. The flood of patients was extreme, spilling into every available bed, then throughout the surrounding corridors, where masking tape marked off virtual rooms. “Every doorway you looked in there was a young man lying in the bed, very, very ill,” recalls Cynthia O’Neal, who first witnessed the devastation in 1987. She was moved to co-found (with the director Mike Nichols) the AIDS services agency Friends in Deed. “It felt like a war hospital. It was very, very affecting, very powerful. I spent a lot of time in those rooms.”
According to France, the success of HIV treatments has contributed to the decline in admissions at St. Vincent's, an ironic end to the place that was ground zero in the greatest tragedy ever to afflict gay men. Read the entire article.

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