Kings County Hospital Center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kings County Hospital Center
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC)
KCHC Ambulatory jeh.JPG
Ambulatory Care Center at KCHC.
Location 451 Clarkson Ave., Brooklyn, New York, New York, United States
Hospital type Teaching, trauma, psychiatric
Affiliated university SUNY Downstate College of Medicine
Emergency department Level 1 Trauma Center
Beds 627[1]
Founded 1831
Lists Hospitals in New York

Kings County Hospital Center is a hospital located at 451 Clarkson Avenue in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York City. It is under the umbrella of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the municipal agency which runs New York City's public hospitals. It has been affiliated with SUNY Downstate College of Medicine since Downstate's founding as Long Island College Hospital in 1860. It was named the country's first Level 1 trauma center[2] Several police officers have been quoted as saying, "If I get shot... bring me to Kings County." [3]


Kings County Hospital Center is a member of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. It is designated as a New York State regional Level 1 trauma center and only Level 1 pediatric trauma center in Brooklyn. Additionally KCHC is a Designated Stroke Center, Level III Perinatal Center, Designated AIDS Center, Parkinson's Disease Center of Excellence, Diabetes Education Center of Excellence, Behavioral Health Center (including inpatient, outpatient with dedicated emergency room) and Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program Center of Excellence.

KCHC is geographically oriented to provide services to more than 800,000 (415,650 in the primary service area) people in the communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Canarsie/Flatlands, East New York, Brownsville and Flatbush/East Flatbush. Ethnic diversity among the mostly black and Hispanic population served (94%) by KCHC is very rich with large populations from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Guyana, Barbados and a multitude of South American and African Countries. Accordingly KCHC employees speak 39 different languages to meet this diverse population's needs.[4]


Kings County Hospital was born of necessity, dedicated to caring for the poor of Brooklyn. In 1824, New York State established a law requiring several counties, including the County of Kings (Brooklyn), to purchase lands to be used exclusively to house the poor, completely deferring all potential real estate taxes which could be levied on said land. The law stated that taxation of the surrounding inhabitants would be used to fund these projects.[5]

The hospital was then established in 1830 as Brooklyn County Almshouse.[6] The first hospital building was constructed in 1837, after land was purchased from the Martense family for three thousand dollars.[7]

Line in front of Brooklyn County Almshouse
A line in front of the Brooklyn Almshouse - 1900

In 1857, an investigation was initiated by the Temporary President of the State Senate, Mark Spencer to visit all establishments created by the 1824 law. The investigation surveyed the Brooklyn County Almshouse, finding a hospital and lunatic asylum among other buildings constructed since the creation of the law. The hospital was a four story 48x254 foot building housing 430 patients and lunatic asylum “260 feet long, wings 45 feet, and the centre 80 feet wide, four stories high” built to accommodate 150 patients but housing 205. Interestingly, at the height of the straightjacket, the lunatic asylum did not employ the use of physical restraints for patients, allowing them to freely mingle and take exercise at their leisure – “The resident physician observed that he considers 'kindness' more potent than chains”. The hospital and asylum each employed a single physician to care for all housed patients.[8] Famously in 1864, Walt Whitman committed his brother to the asylum.

The mid-20th century was fruitful for public health and scientific advancement at KCH. Some of the first successful large-scale family planning services in the country were started under renowned physician Louis Hellman. It began with his fight against a ban on family planning services in New York public hospitals in 1958. In 1965, due chiefly to efforts organized by Dr. Hellman, the New York State legislature lifted the ban on the prescription of birth-control medications in public hospital in New York State. By 1966, it was demonstrated that these efforts were highly successful in lowering abortion rates, establishing a nation-wide precedence. These efforts radically changed the availability for birth control among undeserved and impoverished communities.[9]

Working with populations in which sickle cell anemia was endemic, in 1966, KCH physicians Drs. Margaret G. Robinson and R. Janet Watson observed a high incidence of pneumococcal meningitis in sickle cell patients - a similar rate to that of post-splenectomy patients. Upon this conclusion they developed the first explanation for such a similarity being inability of macrophage phagocytosis in these encapsulated bacteria.[10]

In 1997, KCHC began a modernization program.[2]

  • Phase I—a 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) bed tower was completed in 2001,
  • Phase II—a 260,000 sq ft (24,000 m2) treatment and diagnostic center was completed in 2005,
  • Phase III—an ambulatory center, was added in 2006.

This work was managed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, with the Gilbane/TDX Joint Venture as the Construction Manager. A 300,000 sq ft (28,000 m2) Behaviorial Health Center was added in 2008.[citation needed]

In 2003, the US Army established a training program at the hospital called the Academy of Advanced Combat Medicine to train reservists in an emergency room that has received 600 cases per year of gunshot and stabbing victims.[11]


The hospital offers a wide range of services - women's health, child & teen health, ambulatory care, behavior health, diagnostic services and surgical services.[12]

Kings County Hospital has an extensive history treating acutely injured patients and publishing in the field of trauma surgery, as early as 1906, on the subject of surgical management of epidural hematomas by C.F. Barber, a surgeon at the hospital.[13]


Kings County Hospital has paid out more than 13 of all medical malpractice claims against the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (over $60 million). Since there are 11 city hospitals, this indicates that the hospital has a very high rate of malpractice claims compared to other city hospitals. In fact, it has been the most-sued hospital of the city's health care system.[14]

On June 19, 2008, Esmin Green, a 49-year-old Jamaica native, died in the waiting room of the hospital's G Building, a psychiatric ward, which resulted in several people being fired, as well as pending investigations and lawsuits. The incident came in the midst of a federal lawsuit charging neglect by the hospital.[15][16]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "HHC - Kings County Hospital Center". Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  3. ^ ANDY NEWMAN (July 15, 2007). "In Hospital Scrubs and Officer's Blues, a Kinship - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  4. ^ "2013 Community Health Needs Assessment" (PDF). Health and Hospitals Corporation of New York City. 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Brooklyn Historical Society. "Brooklyn County Almshouse Questionnaire". Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Yerby, Alonzo (1966). "Public Policy in Regard to Birth-Control Services". New England of Medicine. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Robinson, Margeret; WAtson, Janet. "Pneumococcal Meningitis in Sickle-Cell Anemia". New England Journal Medicine. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  11. ^ Bleyer, Jennifer. "Battlefield Medics Shaped in Civilian Setting", The New York Times, December 6, 2005. "The program, called the Academy of Advanced Combat Medicine, started at Kings County two years ago when officers from the 5,300-person Eighth Medical Brigade, based at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, decided to train their reservists in a civilian emergency room.... The hospital's highly regarded, extremely busy emergency room admits 1,200 major trauma patients each year, among the most in the city."
  12. ^
  13. ^ Barber, C.F. (1906). "A More Careful Diagnosis in Head Injuries" (PDF). Brooklyn Medical Journal 20 (12): 351 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). Retrieved August 2015. 
  14. ^ "WNYC - News - Kings County Hospital Facing Another Lawsuit". Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  15. ^ "Hospital video shows no one helped dying woman," New York Daily News, 30 June 2008
  16. ^ BBC News Video shows death of US patient

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°39′23.58″N 73°56′42.1″W / 40.6565500°N 73.945028°W / 40.6565500; -73.945028