An impressive record of contributions to medical science spans the histories of St. Luke's, Woman's and Roosevelt Hospitals. J. Marion Sims, MD, the father of modern gynecology and the founder of Woman's Hospital, performed the first successful surgical removal of a vesico-vaginal fistula in 1849. Dr. Sims went on to become a co-founder of both the American Gynecological and New York Obstetrical Societies.
In the 1880s, William Halstead, MD developed the surgical procedures for hernia repair and radical mastectomy and would also introduce the practice of using rubber gloves in the United States. Robert Hall, MD, performed the first appendectomy in this country during this time period and Charles McBurney, MD, originated the classic procedure for appendectomies: the "McBurney incision."
On October 18, 1846, Reverend William Augustus Muhlenberg appealed to his congregation -- the Church of the Holy Communion -- for contributions to create St. Luke's Hospital.
On November 2, 1871, The Roosevelt Hospital opened at 59th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues -- the realization of the dream of its benefactor, James Henry Roosevelt. Coincidentally, Rev. Muhlenberg offered the benediction.
On January 24, 1896, St. Luke's Hospital relocated from Fifth Avenue and 54th Street (on the site of the present-day University Club) to its new complex at 113th Street and Morningside Drive.
In the early 1900s, Francis Carter Wood, MD, a friend and collaborator of Madame Marie Curie, was one of the first physicians to use radium in diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Wood achieved international distinction for developing radiotherapeutic approaches for a variety of conditions, including cancer. He was director of pathology and radiotherapy at St. Luke's Hospital for more than 50 years. Also during this time, Howard Taylor, MD, became the first physician to use radium in the treatment of gynecological illnesses. St. Luke's surgeons Henry Lyle, MD, and Alexander Ada, MD, performed the first successful surgical removal of a cancer-afflicted lung.
The single most important figure in the development of modern hand surgery was J. William Littler, MD, a resident at Roosevelt Hospital who went on to head the nation's first hand surgery service. Dr. Littler developed such techniques as tendon repair, transplantation of other digits to reconstruct the thumb, and the development of structures to replace small bones in the wrist.
In 1952, the Woman's Hospital merged with St. Luke's Hospital to form the St. Luke's Hospital Center.
In 1955, surgeons at St. Luke's Hospital performed the first open heart procedure in New York City.
Cardiac surgeon George Green, MD, was the first to use the mammary artery in bypass surgery.
Roosevelt Hospital cardiologists began experiments that led to the first demonstration that coronary artery disease results in reduced blood flow to the heart.
In 1977, Gerald Phillips, MD, made one of the earliest observations of elevated estrogen levels in the blood of young heart attack patients, which led to new approaches to treating heart disease.
In 1979, the St. Luke's Hospital Center and The Roosevelt Hospital merged to form St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, at the time, the nation's largest merger of non-profit teaching hospitals.
In 1979, St. Luke's-Roosevelt physicians diagnosed one of the earliest cases of an AIDS-related illness on the East Coast.
In 1991, Airlie Cameron, MD, completed a 20-year follow-up study on coronary bypass patients which showed that patients who had received an internal thoracic artery graft lived longer, with fewer repeat surgeries, than those who had received a saphenous vein graft.