The Cleveland’s First Private Hospital
The history of Cleveland and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center are not independent of one another. A city is people; a hospital is people—the story of the past century and a half is the story of how these people have helped each other.
Since 1865—nearly 150 years ago—a handful of pioneering Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine were brought to Cleveland at the request of Bishop Amadeus Rappe, the first bishop of Cleveland. Against the backdrop of a soul-searing Civil War and a spirit saddened by the assassination of a President, new life was teeming on the streets, avenues, shores, railways and alleys of Cleveland. However, without a hospital the city could not serve the railroad and steamboat disaster victims and returning Civil War soldiers who were requiring immediate medical attention and nursing care.
To meet these needs, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, rose above almost insurmountable difficulties to come into existence.
In May 1863, Bishop Rappe had proposed to City Council that Cleveland build a hospital to care for wounded soldiers, with nursing care to be provided by the Sisters. City Council appointed a committee to investigate and immediately dissension occurred. Newspaper editorials opposed a hospital under Catholic auspices since nine-tenths of the taxpayers were Protestants, and proposed instead the establishment of a nonsectarian hospital.
Familiar with failure and discouragement, Bishop Rappe made another attempt. He offered to build a hospital and provide Sisters to care for the patients if the citizens would furnish adequate financial support.
Cleveland citizens agreed and the site—at Perry Street (now East 22nd Street) between Marion and Garden Streets (now Central Avenue)—was purchased for $10,000. The initial hospital cost $72,000 of which $42,000 was raised from the primarily Protestant Cleveland community.
The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine stated that patients would be received regardless of religious belief and that those unable to pay would have their care paid for by the city. Mother Augustine, a woman of refinement and strength of character, who possessed unusual executive ability, was the first superior of the hospital. She and seven Sisters took up their duties on October 5, 1865. Their practice of always aiding the sick and suffering regardless of creed, race or ability to pay has continued throughout the next century and a half.
Today, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality healthcare provider. As a teaching hospital, it is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute, the Center for Bariatric Surgery as well as complete services in cardiovascular, emergency medicine, primary care, behavioral health, occupational health and addiction medicine in a setting that is as caring and comfortable as home.
Everyone at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is devoted to the mission to treat every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care.
Recent Blog Posts
November 23, 2020
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Emergency Department medical director joins Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to discuss COVID-19
Gov. Mike DeWine offered a dire outlook on the state of the coronavirus pandemic during a visit to Cleveland last week, and urged Ohio residents to downsize their Thanksgiving plans and avoid other gatherings to help reduce transmission. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Emergency Department Medical Director Carla O'Day appeared with DeWine during his visit. She said anecdotal evidence suggests Halloween may be partly to blame for the recent spike in cases and that many people may have been infected while attending Halloween parties.
November 20, 2020
With the flu season coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging everyone older than 6 months of age to get a flu shot to help protect themselves and their communities. It’s especially important for those at increased risk of developing serious flu-related complications.
November 17, 2020
St. Vincent Charity joins Northeast Ohio hospitals urging Ohioans to remain vigilant as coronavirus cases rise
The heads of six Northeast Ohio hospital systems, including St. Vincent Charity Medical Center President & CEO Janice G. Murphy, took out a full page ad in the Sunday Plain Dealer for a letter that implores Ohioans not to give in to “COVID fatigue” as coronavirus cases in Ohio continue to dramatically rise. “Unfortunately we cannot wish the infection away,” the letter reads, in part. “COVID-19 is in our communities no matter where you live or who you are. It touches all of us in one way or another.”
November 3, 2020
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center (SVCMC), which is home to Rosary Hall – one of Ohio’s first and best hospital-based addiction treatment centers – has unveiled new centralized access to behavioral health inpatient services. “Centralized access offers a single point of entry to any of St. Vincent’s 27 inpatient detoxification beds and 64 inpatient psychiatry beds,” said Megan Bush, MBA, LISWS, director of intake and access, behavioral health, SVCMC. “The new model promises a swift and linear intake process for referrals from other hospitals, SVCMC providers, external agencies and individuals seeking services on their own.”
October 22, 2020
Mercy Medical Center and St. Vincent Charity designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Spine Surgery
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center are two of only 15 facilities in Ohio to be designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ for Spine Surgery by the BlueCross BlueShield Association. Blue Distinction Centers+ are nationally recognized and trusted programs that provide excellent and efficient specialty care. It is a national designation program by the BlueCross BlueShield Association that identifies facilities that demonstrate expertise in delivering quality specialty care safely, efficiently and cost effectively.
October 12, 2020
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Appoints Russell E. Spieth, Ph.D., as Director of Outpatient Services at Rosary Hall
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has named Russell E. Spieth, Ph.D., as director of outpatient services at Rosary Hall, effective today. In this role, Dr. Spieth provides leadership and operational oversight of ambulatory addiction treatment services, as well as staff and program development for the expanding continuum of Rosary Hall. He also ensures close coordination with Rosary Hall’s inpatient detoxification services, inpatient behavioral health and other hospital programs. “We are excited to welcome Dr. Spieth, whose diverse experiences will help expand Rosary Hall’s capabilities, which will now include mental health and dual diagnosis treatment, including serious and persistent mental illness,”
October 9, 2020
Sisters of Charity Health System leadership joins First Friday Club of Cleveland to share pandemic insights
Sisters of Charity Health System leadership recently joined the First Friday Club of Cleveland to discuss what it means for faith organizations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We can’t go back to ‘normal,’” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, chair, Sisters of Charity Health System, as she opened a virtual program for the First Friday Club, which provides a forum for Catholic thought and inspiration.