Since the middle of the 19th century, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital has been a vital part of health care in New York City. Below we share some of the most important moments in our history.
2000 – Initiated the Morningside Clinic, a home for HIV outpatient services.
2008 – Celebrated our 150th anniversary of service to patients.
– Considered a work in progress, this timeline was compiled in fall 2008 by the 150th Anniversary Committee in conjunction with the archives of St. Luke’s Hospital.
2013 – Continuum Health Partners, parent company of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, merges with The Mount Sinai Hospital, creating the Mount Sinai Health System. St. Luke’s Hospital was renamed Mount Sinai St. Luke’s.
1951 – Frederick Thompson, MD, developed the Thompson prosthesis. Initially used to treat arthritic hips and later fractures, it replaced the femoral head with a metal alloy and was the precursor of the modern total hip replacement
1952 – Merged with the Woman’s Hospital, forming St. Luke’s Hospital Center.
1953 – Appointed L. Loomis Bell, Jr., MD, as director of the cardiopulmonary laboratory.
1954 – Opened the Clark Building, a gift of Mrs. J. Ambrose (Florence Stokes) Clark.
1955 – Richard B. Stark, MD, joined the staff and established the Division of Plastic Surgery as well as the internationally renowned Cleft Palate Center.
1956 – Hugh Fitzpatrick, MD, performed the first open heart repair of a septal defect in New York City.
1957 – Theodore VanItallie, MD, returned to chair the Department of Medicine and advance St. Luke’s basic and clinical research.
– Opened the Stuyvesant Pavilion, a gift of Augustus Van Horne Stuyvesant, Jr.
1960 – Dr. VanItallie and Sami Hashim, MD, discovered and published use of cholestyramine in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and primary biliary cirrhosis, the first such drug developed to lower cholesterol.
1967 – Robert Zickel, MD, described a new fixation device for subtrochanteric femur fracture, which was the precursor of today’s intramedullary devices.
1968 – John Bertles, MD, director of the Division of Hematology, and another investigator were the first to describe red cells from individuals with sickle cell disease that remain sickled even when oxygen levels are restored. Those cells were termed “irreversibly sickled cells.”
1969 – Lajos von Micsky, MD, became chief of the Ultrasonic Division. An obstetrician/gynecologist by training, Dr. von Micsky pioneered in the development and use of ultrasound and ultrasound equipment, in particular devising a number of abdominal scanners. In 1963, he established our bioacoustical laboratory.
– J. William Fielding, MD, and George Van B. Cochran, MD, performed biomechanical studies on instability of the upper cervical spine that lead to understanding the role of the ligaments in that area. As a result, Dr. Fielding popularized and improved surgical techniques for cervical spine fusion.
1970 – Richard McCray, MD, performed what is thought to be the first endoscopic gastric biopsy in the United States.
– George Green, MD, began our coronary surgery program; two years earlier, he developed and performed the first coronary artery bypass surgery using the internal thoracic artery.
1971 – Expanded affiliation with Columbia University, giving Columbia the opportunity “to broaden [the] clinical and research training of students” and allowing us “the further development of the highest possible standards of patient care, community service and research which will result from the achievement of university hospital status.”
– Robert McCabe, MD, described the successful sequence of cadaver kidneys obtained at one hospital, preserved at a second, and subsequently transplanted at a third. He thus described modern renal transplant programs involving multiple medical institutions.
1974 – Robert Neuwirth, MD, performed the first hysteroscopic resection of uterine submucus myomas in the world.
– Established a modern neonatal unit under Farrokh Shahrivar, MD.
1975 – Founded the first NIH-funded obesity research center in the United States, by Theodore VanItallie, MD.
– Established the first hospital-based hospice program in the United States under the direction of Chaplain Carlton Sweetser and Samuel Klagsbrun, MD.
1977 – Created our rape intervention program, which later grew into the Crime Victims Treatment Center. It served as a model for other programs around the country.
1979 – Merged with Roosevelt Hospital, forming St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
– Opened the Sickle Cell Center under the direction of Doris Weathers, MD. It became an important referral center for the Harlem community.
1982 – Michael Grieco, MD, and Michael Lange, MD, published the first recognition of an unexplained immunological deficit in homosexual men, later discovered to be HIV.
1983 – Was designated a 911 Trauma Center, one of only four in Manhattan.
1985 – Robert B. Case, MD, published a landmark study on Type A behavior vis-à-vis survival after cute myocardial infarction.
– Airlie Cameron, MD, presented the first documentation of improved survival with the internal thoracic artery as compared with the saphenous vein bypass in a long-term follow-up study (15 years) following coronary artery bypass surgery. The first of its kind, the study was published in 1986. A 20-year follow-up study was published in 1995.
1990 – Global endometrial ablation with thermal balloons for the treatment of menstrual bleeding was developed by Robert Neuwirth, MD.
1992 – Opened a new main hospital, the Babcock Building.
1997 – Entered into a partnership with Beth Israel Medical Center, forming Continuum Health Partners.
1999 – Opened the Health Education and Learning (HEAL) Center opens at St. Luke’s.
1906 – Inaugurated the Plant Pavilion, a gift of Margaret J. Plant.
1910 – Hans Zinsser, MD, co-authored a textbook of bacteriology. In subsequent editions, retitled Zinsser Microbiology, it remains the classic text in the field for decades.
1911 – Opened the Travers Pavilion, a gift of Mrs. John G. Heckscher.
1914 – Launched the Social Service Department.
– Opened the eye, ear, nose and throat wards open.
1917 – Opened a military ward for the care of recruits and soldiers in World War I.
1922 – Instituted radio reception for patients; we were among the first hospitals in New York City to do so.
1925 – Mary Breckinridge, a School of Nursing graduate, established the Frontier Nursing Service, now the Frontier Nursing University. Begun to bring nursing care to isolated areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia, the nurses initially traveled on horseback. The service currently provides comprehensive family-centered health care.
1927 – Opened St. Luke’s Convalescent Home Byram woods in Greenwich, Connecticut.
1928 – Initiated the Scrymser Pavilion opens, a gift of Mrs. James (Mary Catherine Prime) Scrymser.
1930 – Mather Cleveland, MD, joined the staff and established the first orthopedic department incorporated in a general hospital in New York City.
1934 – Morris K. Smith, MD, an intern at St. Luke’s in 1911, joined the staff. Surgeon, member of multiple professional societies, and generous contributor to the literature, he is acclaimed for his service during World Wars I and II. Among other work, he served as Surgical Consultant to the Third Army in France and Germany. He is awarded the Bronze Star.
1935 – St. Luke’s surgeons Henry Lyle, MD, and Alexander Ada, MD, performed one of the earliest successful removals of a cancerous lung.
– Initiated children’s education program, assigning pediatric patients a full-time teacher by the New York City Board of Education; the program lasted into the 1980s.
1937 – Opened 13-story art deco Nurses’ Residence opens, a gift of Mary Ann White Fitzgerald in memory of her late father, Eli White.
– David Bosworth, MD, first described internal splinting as a method of treating metacarpal fractures. He later designed Bosworth screws for acromioclavicular separation and the Bosworth technique for insertion of bone pegs. In 1947, he described a specific type of fracture of the distal fibula named the Bosworth fracture. In 1949, he pioneered surgical treatment, including spinal fusion, for tuberculosis of the spine, before anti-tubercular drugs become available.
1938 – Inaugurated Urology Department, with 24 beds.
1939 – Acquired a laminagraph, an X-ray machine that makes radiography of body tissue possible at any desired depth. At the time, it was the first and only unit in New York State, one of only nine in the country, and one of only 14 in the world.
– Established the position of Director of Religious Activities and appointed Rev. Otis Radcliffe Rice as director. Under his direction, the department is said to have become a model for planning hospital religious departments throughout the country.
1940 – Began assembling Evacuation Hospital #2 at the request of the surgeon general. Staffed by St. Luke’s MDs and nurses, the mobile unit served abroad in seven different countries.
– Opened a state-of-the-art Physical Therapy Department serving all medical divisions. It registered 20,000 patient visits within its first year.
1942 – Opened the Blood and Plasma Bank, including blood testing and plasma-processing facilities.
1947 – Signed affiliation agreement with Columbia University wherein St. Luke’s would give clinical instruction and practice to senior medical students and Columbia would provide advanced instruction in the basic sciences to St. Luke’s house officers pursuing advanced training.
1949 – Inaugurated the poliomyelitis service inaugurated. When New York City’s two contagious diseases hospitals became overwhelmed with patients, St. Luke’s was the city’s only voluntary hospital to accept and treat the overflow.
1846 – Founded October 18 by the Reverend William Augustus Muhlenberg, DD, pastor of the Church of the Holy Communion.
1847 – Muhlenberg lit the first Christmas tree for poor children in New York City at the Church of the Holy Communion.
1849 – Muhlenberg began a Fresh Air Fund. Said by his biographer (Ayres) to have been the first of such funds “in name and fact,” it remained active through at least the late 1870s.
1850 – Incorporated on April 25.
1855 – Founded and opened the Woman’s Hospital in the State of New York, with J. Marion Sims, MD, its gynecological surgeon. The first American institution of its kind, Woman’s Hospital merged with St. Luke’s in 1952.
1857 – Welcomed the public to our chapel for Sunday services on May 21.
1858 – Opened the hospital doors to patients, May 13, in a facility located along Fifth Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets.
1859 – Established a policy of accepting tuberculosis patients (at the time, ‘consumptives’ often had limited or no access to hospital care).
1861 – Devoted nearly half its capacity—100 beds—to sick and wounded Civil War soldiers.
1869 – Established the Century Fund to help prevent an accumulation of annual debt.
– Recognized as “a leader in the treatment of childhood diseases, including tuberculosis, Pott’s disease, and hip and spine conditions. Its first specialty service, orthopedic surgery, was established primarily to treat childhood conditions.”
1874 – Established Hospital Sunday, a fund-raising program.
1877 – Muhlenberg dies, April 8.
– Joined three other New York City Hospitals in beginning the first ambulance service for emergency and critical care patients.
1880 – Initiated the Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association, a citywide fundraising group. This body eventually developed into the Greater New York Hospital Association and the United Hospital Fund.
1884 – Robert Abbe, MD, joined the staff. Surgeon, radiologist, colleague, and friend of Mme. Curie, Abbe is widely credited with founding radium therapy in the United States. He pioneered in many types of surgical procedures, particularly plastic surgery, and initiated use of catgut sutures in surgery. He remained at St. Luke’s until his death in 1928.
1888 – Founded and opened the St. Luke’s School of Nursing. For 86 years, the school provided training for professional nursing.
1891 – Formed the Society of the Alumni of St. Luke’s Hospital of New York City.
1896 – Relocated to 113th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive.
– Purchased our first X-ray equipment, just a short time after Röntgen discovered X-ray technology.
1897 – Francis Carter Wood, MD, joined the staff of St. Luke’s. Surgeon, pathologist, friend, and collaborator of Mme. Marie Curie, Wood pioneered in the diagnostic and therapeutic use of X-rays and was internationally renowned for his research into the causes and treatment of cancer. He organized our pathology laboratory and directed it from 1910 through 1947. In 1921, he established our Radiotherapy Department and served as its director until 1947.
1898 – Opened and set aside 30 beds for the use of soldiers and sailors during the Spanish-American War.