History of Mount Sinai West
James Henry Roosevelt, whose bequest founded the Roosevelt Hospital, was the son of James Christopher Roosevelt and Catherine Byvanck Roosevelt. He was also a distant cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt was born at his family’s home on Warren Street in lower Manhattan on November 10, 1800. Following his earlier education in neighborhood schools, he enrolled in Columbia College, where his studies included law, and was graduated in 1819. He subsequently set up a law practice in New York City. Roosevelt has been described as a young man of pleasing appearance, brown hair, above-average height, with a gentle and courteous demeanor. He was engaged to be married to Julia Boardman, who was from an old New York City family.James Henry Roosevelt, whose bequest founded the Roosevelt Hospital, was the son of James Christopher Roosevelt and Catherine Byvanck Roosevelt He was also a distant cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt.
But, suddenly, an illness left him physically disabled, ending his plans for both career and marriage. As a result of his physical limitations, Roosevelt abandoned his law practice and broke his engagement with Boardman as he did not want to ‘burden’ her. They remained life-long friends, and one of the few bequests he made, which include the funding that ultimately founded Roosevelt Hospital, was an annuity for Boardman, who was also executrix of his will.
Roosevelt devoted much of his time to real estate dealings and managing his securities, thereby substantially increasing his worth. It is thought that he conserved and increased his funds for one specific purpose: to support “The establishment in the City of New York of a hospital for the reception and relief of sick and diseased persons.” When he died in 1863, he left in excess of one million dollars toward that objective. Under the terms of Roosevelt’s will, the hospital was established as a hospital that cared for individuals regardless of ability to pay. It is suspected that since Henry himself experienced illness, he was sympathetic toward others facing similar challenges.
Roosevelt’s remains were first buried in his family's vault in the New York City Marble Cemetery. They were moved to the Roosevelt Hospital grounds in 1876, and accompanied with a monument, which remains today in the garden facing Tenth Avenue. Due to hospital expansions, Roosevelt’s remains were moved two more times. In 1994, his remains were exhumed and, in the spring of 1995, re-interred in Marble Cemetery.
Mount Sinai West has made a number of critical contributions to research, education, and patient care. These include:
2007 – One of the first simulation centers in New York City opens, and four years later conducted the first randomized controlled trial (RCT). It was the first simulation center to establish a simulation fellowship in New York State and the first accredited simulation center in Manhattan; among fewer than 50 accredited centers by the Society for Simulation in Heath Care in the United States.
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. Roosevelt Hospital was renamed Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital.
2014 – Darrick Antell, MD, FACS, was the first to document the way identical twins can be affected by environmental factors, finding that certain lifestyle choices exert more effect on physical aging than genetic influences. His research is featured in the Human Genome Exhibit, a display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC between 2014 and 2018.
2015 – Mount Sinai Roosevelt Kidney Stone Center opens, offering state-of-the-art, comprehensive medical and surgical treatment for stone disease with a focus on prevention.
--Mount Sinai Roosevelt renamed Mount Sinai West.
1951 – J. William Littler, MD, acclaimed for developing techniques for restoring function and sensation to injured fingers and wrists, founded the hand surgery unit, one of the first in the country. It was later renamed the C.V. Starr Hand Surgery Center.
1952 – Dr. Littler establishes a hand surgery fellowship program.
– The Henry Harrington Janeway Clinic for Therapeutic Radiology opens, which houses a $1,250,000 radium beam projector weighing 8,000 pounds, and is described as the largest in America and the most versatile in the world. The unit employs 50 grams of radium, the most ever accumulated in one unit anywhere in the world.
– Affiliation with Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons is formalized.
1953 – The nine-story Tower Memorial Building opens, housing both specialty and general medical clinics.
1955 – J. Maxwell Chamberlain, MD, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, developed and reported on a technique of segmental pulmonary resection for the treatment of tuberculosis. The procedure was universally adopted.
– Garrard B. Winston, president of the Board of Trustees bequeaths nearly $4 million to the hospital in his will.
– The New York City Board of Estimate approved budget appropriation for 29 psychiatric beds. We set aside 15 beds for children, making it the largest of such units in a New York City voluntary hospital.
1956 – Opened an outpatient psychiatric clinic for adolescents, the first in a New York City voluntary hospital.
1957 – Established a cardio-pulmonary laboratory under the direction of Charles A. Betrand, MD.
1960 – Intensive Care Unit opens, one of the first established in metropolitan New York.
1961 – Cornerstone is laid for the 12-story Garrard Winston Memorial Building.
– Psychiatry institutes a Day Care Program and a 24-hour emergency service.
1962 – Gift of $1 million received to establish a gastrointestinal service from Mrs. Janet Upjohn Stearns, granddaughter of Dr. W.E. Upjohn, founder of the Upjohn pharmaceutical company.
1963 – Affiliation with Columbia University’s School of Dental and Oral Surgery begins.
1964 – Harvey Weiss, MD, initiates the Division of Histology and becomes a leader in platelet research
– $12.5 million Garrard Winston Memorial Building opens.
– J. William Littler, MD, publishes an upper extremity surgery chapter in Converse’s Reconstructive Plastic Surgery; it became widely regarded as the bible of hand surgery.
1968 – The Board of Trustees authorizes construction of a 12-story medical research building to be named for Arthur J. Antenucci, MD.
1971 – United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy held health care cost hearings at Roosevelt Hospital.
– R. Brinkley Smithers pledges $10million for the treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics, the largest single grant ever made by an individual or agency, including the federal government, to combat alcoholism.
– Harvey Weiss, MD, published a study reporting the possibility that acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) has antithrombotic properties that may help prevent arterial thrombosis in humans. His work uncovered the anti-platelet benefits of aspirin, which led to the use of aspirin as an agent in the prevention of heart attack and stroke.
1973 – United States Senator Walter Mondale holds hearings on child abuse at Roosevelt Hospital; the following year, Mondale initiated the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
– Arthur J. Antenucci Medical Research Building is dedicated.
– The Smithers Alcoholism Center and Rehabilitation Unit opens at 56 East 93rd Street.
1979 – Roosevelt Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital Center, at 114th Street and Amsterdam Avenue merge, forming St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
1981 – $2.5 million state-of-the-art emergency room opens.
1985 – The Kathryn and Gilbert Miller Health Care Institute for Performing Artists opens.
1986 – The Arthur J. Antenucci Institute of Medical Research is established.
1988 – Cardiologists Henry Greenberg, MD, and Mark Sherrid, MD, led a study examining paramedic-administered, pre-hospital thrombolysis (clot busting) in the field for acute myocardial infarction. The study finds that patients in the field are treated an average of 86 minutes sooner than patients treated in the emergency department, which was the common practice.
1993 – Thirteen-story main hospital building on Tenth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets opens.
1994 – Harvey Weiss, MD, published his findings on a rare congenital bleeding disorder caused by a defect in a platelet mechanism required for blood coagulation, and named it 'Scott syndrome.'
1996 – The first hospital-based birthing center in New York City opens at Roosevelt Hospital.
1997 – St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center enters into partnership with Beth Israel Medical Center, forming Continuum Health Partners.
1998 –The James P. Mara Center for Lung Diseases opens.
– Roosevelt and St Luke's became the first hospitals in NYC with 100 percent computerized physician order entry records.
1910 – Karl Connell, MD, becomes assistant surgeon. During his tenure, he developed the celebrated Connell anesthetometer, the Connell airway, and the Connell meter for measuring gas flow. He also perfected a gas mask, the Connell Mask, which was used by the armed forces during World War I.
1912 – Began a social service “to meet the needs of distressed patients outside the hospital walls, with an emphasis on chronically ill and aged patients.”
1913 – Philip Van Ingen, MD, joined the staff as pediatrician, eventually becoming director of pediatrics. In 1929, President Hoover appointed him Chair of the Committee on the Medical Care of Children, the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection.
1914 – Admitted students of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to patient wards for bedside teaching.
1917 – Organized and staffed the United States’ World War I Base Hospital No. 15, the first base hospital to arrive overseas for duty with the American Expeditionary Forces. The unit rendered “distinguished service” in Chaumont, France, and its commander, Colonel Charles H. Peck, MD, received the Distinguished Service Medal. Four nurses received the Croix de Guerre.
1931 – Opened a free library service for patients, widely considered a model of its kind.
1932 – Organized the Women’s Committee, eventually renamed Volunteer Services, to coordinate volunteer work in the hospital.
1933 – Established a formal Social Service Department.
1934 – Arthur J. Antenucci, MD, joins the medical staff, and serves as Chief of Medicine from 1957 until 1970, and as Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Medicine from 1971 through mid-1986.
– Remodeled the Syms Operating Pavilion as a memorial to James I. Russell, MD, a member of the staff from 1901 through 1942 and director of surgery 1936-1942.
1936 – Thomas T. Mackie, MD, assumed directorship of the Gray Clinic for colitis. He was also named president of the American Foundation for Tropical Medicine, an organization said to have greatly improved the health of American troops in the tropics during World War II. He later coauthors A Manual of Tropical Medicine.
1941 – Condict W. Cutler, Jr., MD, organized The Catastrophe Unit (also known as the Disaster Unit), the first of its kind in a New York City voluntary hospital. The unit’s overall goal was rapid placement of teams of doctors and nurses at the site of any civilian catastrophe or destructive enemy action.
1942 – Opened a six-story Private Patients Pavilion.
– Catastrophe Unit aids victims of the fire aboard the French liner, Normandie.
– Activated World War II Evacuation Hospital No. 9 that cared for military personnel and civilians in North Africa, Sicily, the Italian peninsula, France, and Germany.
– Blood Bank opens.
– Dr. Cutler, a founding member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, published The Hand, Its Diseases and Disabilities.
1946 – Dr. Cutler received the Legion of Merit for his work “in the restoration of function of hands crippled by wounds, thus giving many members of the Armed Forces an opportunity to follow gainful employment occupations without the handicap of artificial appliances.” He also received the Congressional Medal for Meritorious Service.
1950 – The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is established.
1863 – James Henry Roosevelt died November 30, leaving a large portion of his estate for the founding and permanent endowment of a hospital in New York City.
1864 – James C. Roosevelt Brown, nephew of James Henry and a beneficiary of his will, died January 20, childless. Under the terms of James Henry’s will, if his nephew died without issue and had no other heirs, the assets left to him would be added to the hospital’s endowment.
– The Board of Trustees held its first meeting January 14 at the home of James I. Roosevelt, a trustee of the future Roosevelt Hospital.
– The New York State Legislature voted on the Act of Incorporation of the Roosevelt Hospital on February 2.
1868 – Purchased the block of land between 58th and 59th Streets and Ninth and Tenth Avenues for $185,000.
1869 – Laid cornerstone of Roosevelt Hospital on October 29.
1871 – Roosevelt Hospital dedicated and opened on November 2.
– Created medical board to formulate medical policy, determine and enforce medical standards and recommend appointments and promotions.
1877 – Initiated a horse-drawn ambulance service.
1881 – William Halsted, MD, organized an outpatient ‘dispensary’ and remained its director until 1886. Halstead pioneers the use of peripheral nerve cocaine anesthesia for minor surgical operations.
1885 – Opened a one-story outpatient building.
1886 – Richard Hall, MD, performed and reported on what is thought to have been the United States’ first survival of a patient after early surgical removal of a perforated appendix.
1888 – Charles McBurney, MD, joined the staff and assumed responsibility for the design and planning of a new operating pavilion, later named the Syms Operating Theatre.
– Robert F. Weir, MD, joined the surgical staff. Characterized as “one of the most brilliant surgeons of his time,” he pioneered the rhinoplasty procedure; was among the first to adopt, urge and teach Lister’s methods of antisepsis; and performed the first well-documented total removal of an unequivocal brain tumor in America.
– Separated the Diseases of Women Division from the medical service and designated it as a separate gynecological service under Robert Watts, MD.
– The College of Physicians and Surgeons is rebuilt on 59th Street, across from Roosevelt Hospital, firmly establishing the teaching connection between the two institutions.
1890 – Opened the McLane Gynecological Operating Room, one of the earliest “new generation” operating rooms designed for aseptic surgery. The room was the gift of James W. McLane, MD, hospital president, 1905-1912, in memory of his son, James W. McLane, Jr.
1892 – Opened the Syms Operating Theater, the gift of New York City businessman, William J. Syms, also a “new generation” operating theater.
1893 – Charles McBurney, MD, originated the classic diagnostic point for acute appendicitis, henceforth known as ‘McBurney’s Point.’ He developed the ‘muscle-splitting’ incision for appendectomy, which became the universal standard.
1896 – Founded the School of Nursing.
– Formed the Roosevelt Hospital Alumni Association.
1897 – Thomas L. Bennett, MD, introduced the nitrous oxide-ether sequence for anesthesia thought to be its first use in America. Bennett later designed the Bennett Inhaler, long considered standard equipment in anesthesia administration.
1898 – During the Spanish-American War, Ward V was turned over to the United States Department of War, to care for New York/New Jersey training camp troops ill with typhoid and other epidemic diseases.
1899 – Opened the Abraham Jacobi Ward for Sick Children, under charge of Abraham Jacobi, MD, widely known as the “father of American pediatrics.”
1900 – Established our first radiology department.