Bellevue Hospital Center

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Coordinates: 40°44′21″N 73°58′31″W / 40.7393°N 73.9753°W / 40.7393; -73.9753

Bellevue Hospital Center
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital old building.jpg
The original Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital building
Location 462 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States
Care system Medicare, Medicaid, Public
Hospital type Teaching, psychiatric
Affiliated university New York University
Emergency department Level I trauma center
Helipad East 34th Street Heliport (IATA: TSS)
Beds 861 general, 339 psychiatric (1200 beds total)
Founded March 31st, 1736
Other links Hospitals in New York
An engraving from 1866 showing the city's first morgue, located in Bellevue
The "Cube", built in 1973 along the FDR Drive at the East River

Bellevue Hospital Center (Bellevue) was founded on March 31, 1736 and is the oldest public hospital in the United States. Located on First Avenue in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, Bellevue Hospital is also home to FDNY-EMS Battalion 8, formerly NYC*EMS Station 13. It has a reputation as being one of the best hospitals in the city.

It handles nearly 670,000 non-ER outpatient clinic visits, over 99,000 emergency visits[1] and some 26,000 inpatients each year. More than 80 percent of Bellevue’s patients come from the city’s medically underserved populations. Today, the hospital occupies a 25-story patient care facility with a state of the art ICU, digital radiology communication and a new modern outpatient facility. The hospital has an attending physician staff of 1,800 and an in-house staff of about 5,500. Steven Alexander became Bellevue Hospital Center's Executive Director in 2013.[2]


Bellevue is famous from many literary, film and television references, and as the training ground for many of America's leaders in medicine. Affiliated with the New York University School of Medicine since 1968, Bellevue has been the site of many milestones in the history of medicine,[3] from the establishment of the first ambulance service and first maternity ward, to Nobel Prize-winning cardiac catheterization laboratory.

Bellevue is exceptionally well known for its psychiatric facilities and its emergency department, being named New York's #1 hospital in Emergency Care by New York Magazine.[4] It has opened a new ambulatory care building dedicated to serving over 300,000 outpatients a year. The hospital serves as a primary referral center for cardiac catheterization, catheter-based treatment of heart rhythm disorders, cardiovascular surgery, leprosy, neurosurgery, and physical rehabilitation.

As the flagship facility of New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, Bellevue is open to patients of all backgrounds irrespective of ability to pay.


Bellevue was founded in 1736, at a time when New York City did not extend much farther north than Wall Street. It was established in what was then wilderness, almost 2 miles north of the settled region of Manhattan, in order to quarantine the sick. When the grid system of streets was established much later in 1811, the survey had to take Bellevue into account and the placement of First Avenue on the grid is entirely due to the location of Bellevue.[citation needed]

  • 1799: First maternity ward in the United States
  • 1808: First ligation of the femoral artery for an aneurysm
  • 1811: New York City purchases Belle Vue farm and builds the New York Almshouse.
  • 1818: First ligation of the innominate artery.
  • 1819: New York University faculty began to conduct clinical instruction at Bellevue Hospital.
  • 1849: Amphitheatre for clinical teaching and surgery opened.
  • 1854: Bellevue physicians promote the "Bone Bill," which legalized dissection of cadavers for anatomical studies.
  • 1856: Bellevue physicians popularize the use of the hypodermic syringe.
  • 1861: The Bellevue Hospital Medical College, the first medical college in New York with connections to a hospital, is founded.
  • 1862: Austin Flint murmur is named for Austin Flint, prominent Bellevue Hospital cardiologist.
  • 1866: Bellevue physicians are instrumental in developing New York City's sanitary code, the first in the world.
  • 1867: One of the nation's first outpatient departments connected to a hospital (the "Bureau of Medical and Surgical Relief for the Out of Door Poor") is established at Bellevue.
  • 1868: Bellevue physician Stephen Smith becomes first commissioner of public health in New York City. Smith initiated a national campaign for health vaccinations.
  • 1869: Bellevue establishes the second hospital-based, emergency ambulance service in the United States.[5]
  • 1873: The nation's first nursing school based on Florence Nightingale's principles opens at Bellevue.
  • 1874: Bellevue inaugurates the nation's first children's clinic.
  • 1876: Bellevue's emergency pavilion, the first in the nation, opens.
  • 1879: A pavilion for the insane is erected within hospital grounds—an approach considered revolutionary at the time.
  • 1883: Bellevue initiates a residency training program that is still the model for surgical training worldwide.
  • 1884: The Carnegie Laboratory, the nation's first pathology and bacteriology laboratory, is founded at Bellevue.
  • 1888: The first American nursing school for men is established.
  • 1889: Bellevue physicians are first to report that tuberculosis is a preventable disease.
  • 1892: Bellevue establishes a dedicated unit for alcoholics.
  • 1894: First successful operation of the abdomen for a pistol shot wound.
  • 1902: The administrative Bellevue and Allied Hospitals organization formed by the city, under president Dr. John W. Brannan. B&AH also includes Gouverneur Hospital, Harlem Hospital, and Fordham Hospital.[6] BA&H opened doors to female and black physicians.[7]
  • 1903: In the midst of a tuberculosis epidemic, the Bellevue Chest Service is founded.
  • 1911: Bellevue opens the nation's first ambulatory cardiac clinic.
  • 1917: First ward for metabolic disorders in the Western Hemisphere.
  • 1918: New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner begins on the second floor.
  • 1919: German spy and saboteur Fritz Joubert Duquesne escapes the hospital prison ward after having feigned paralysis for nearly two years.[8]
  • 1933: William Tillett discovers streptokinase, later used for the acute treatment of myocardial infarction.
  • 1935: Public School 106, the first public school for the emotionally disturbed children located in a public hospital opened at Bellevue.
  • 1938: Paul Zoll completes internship at Bellevue and later develops the first cardiac pacemaker.
  • 1937: David Margolis begins work on WPA murals in entrance rotunda.
  • 1939: Bellevue becomes the site of the world's first hospital catastrophe unit.
  • 1940: The world's first cardiopulmonary laboratory is established at Bellevue by Andre Cournand and Dickinson Richards, who win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1956.
  • 1941: David Margolis completes series of 9 murals, titled Materials of Relaxation.
  • 1952: Nation's first heart failure clinic opens, staffed by Eugene Braunwald
  • 1960: Nina Starr Braunwald performs the first mitral valve replacement. New York City's Office of the chief Medical Examiner moves out of the second floor and into its new building at 520 First Avenue, but still maintains close relations with Bellevue.
  • 1962: Bellevue establishes the first intensive care unit in a municipal hospital.
  • 1964: Bellevue is designated as the stand-by hospital for treatment of visiting presidents, foreign dignitaries, injured members of the City’s uniformed services, and United Nations diplomats.
  • 1967: Bellevue physicians perform the first cadaver kidney transplant.
  • 1970: Bellevue joins the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation as one of 11 acute care hospitals.
  • 1971: The first active immunization of serum hepatitis B is developed by Bellevue physicians.
  • 1981: Bellevue is certified as an official heart station for cardiac emergencies.
  • 1982: Designated as a micro-surgical reimplantation center for the City of New York.
  • 1983: Designated as a level one trauma center.
  • 1988: Recognized by the City's Emergency Medical Services as a head and spinal cord injury center.
  • 1990: Establishes an accredited residency training program in Emergency Medicine.
  • 1996: Bellevue plays a key role in the development of the "Triple Drug Cocktail" or HAART, a breakthrough in the treatment of AIDS.
  • 1998: The building which once served as the hospital's psychiatric facility starts to be used as a homeless intake center and a men's homeless shelter.
  • 2001: Publication of the Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary magazine to arise from a medical center.
  • 2007: Bellevue Literary Press founded, a sister organization of the Bellevue Literary Review.
  • 2010: Plans to redevelop it as a hotel and conference center connected to NYU Langone Medical Center fell through in April.[9]
  • 2012: Evacuation of all patients due to power failure and flooding in the basement generators in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy[10][11]
  • 2014: Bellevue takes in an Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, an individual who worked with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Guinea a month prior, during the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.

Deaths at Bellevue[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Bellevue Hospital Center". New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Archived from the original on 1 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  4. ^ New York Magazine
  5. ^ Bell, Ryan Corbett (2009). The Ambulance: A History. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-3811-2. 
  6. ^ Annual Report, Volume 1, by New York (State). Dept. of Social Welfare, 1908, page 268
  7. ^ No One Was Turned Away : The Role of Public Hospitals in New York City since ... by Department of Urban Studies at Vassar College, 1999, page 67
  8. ^ "'Paralytic' Flees from Prison Ward; Captain Fritz Duquesne, Who Feigned Helplessness, Escapes from Bellevue". The New York Times. May 28, 1919. p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  9. ^ Rubinstein, Dana (April 15, 2010). "Bellevue Redevelopment Officially Dead". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  10. ^ Ashley Jennings (October 31, 2012). "New York City's Bellevue Hospital Forced to Evacuate Patients After Sandy". ABC News. Retrieved October 31, 2012. 
  11. ^ The New York Times

Further reading

External links[edit]