St Luke's Hospital spared from demolition

September 25, 2008 7:11:57 PM PDT
One year ago it appeared St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco would be demolished. But on Thursday afternoon, an agreement was announced to spare the facility that serves the city's poor. It's the first step in a long process.

St Luke's hospital has been a fixture in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood for more than 100 years. Most of its patients are poor or elderly.

Mauricio Vela's mother was a nurse there. His father died there and Vela is a community activist who's been fighting to keep the doors open.

"This is one of only two hospitals on the east side of San Francisco that serves all of the South of Market community, and without this hospital people will be deprived of health care," said community activist Mauricio Vela.

Last year, there were protests when CPMC, California Pacific Medical Center, which runs St. Luke's, declared it was going to turn the hospital into an outpatient clinic.

On Thursday, CPMC announced an about face, St. Luke's will remain open, while a new $200 million facility is built on the site.

San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier spearheaded a blue ribbon panel that came up with the recommendations.

"It's remarkable that in such a short period of time, we would come to consensus and that CPMC has agreed to build a hospital that we in the city of San Francisco greatly need," said Alioto-Pier.

Services at the new St. Luke's campus will include OB/GYN, an emergency department, ICU and pediatrics.

"Through this vote, what we've said is it doesn't matter if you live in Pacific Heights, doesn't matter if you live in the Bayview or South of Market, we can partner together," said Dr. Martin Brotman.

Jane Sandoval is a nurse at St. Luke's. She questions whether CPMC will follow thru with the plan, which is not legally binding.

"We've had a lot of things told to us and then other things have happened. So we would like to actually see them be forthcoming with what they are promising," said Sandoval.

CPMC hopes to start work on its St Luke's project next year and open the new facility in 2014.

ST. Luke's nurses plan will rally on Friday, because they are working without a contract.


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