Letters to the Editor: The soon-to-close St. Vincent hospital was once a research jewel

St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles will close in late January.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As is now well known, St. Vincent Medical Center, the first and oldest hospital in Los Angeles, will soon close its doors. Several letters have been published about this, but none have commented on the tragedy of when St. Vincent felt so financially constrained that it had to abandon research.

By the 1990s and 2000s, St. Vincent had developed outstanding heart, liver and kidney transplant programs. I had the privilege of being able to do cancer research, and that work led to a small clinical trial of an immunotherapy that demonstrated shrinkage of far-advanced breast cancer.

These programs attracted patients from around the world. St. Vincent was a jewel of cutting-edge medical care. It was a very sad day when those programs had to shut down.

The immunotherapy program has resumed clinical trial under other auspices, but it must be announced loud and clear that the original work was done because of the support and encouragement of St. Vincent. Without its program there would be nothing to investigate.

I will forever be grateful to the St. Vincent Medical Center.


Charles Wiseman, M.D., Pasadena

The writer is co-founder and director of BriaCell Therapeutics Corp., a breast cancer immunotherapy biotechnology company.


To the editor: With a recent poll showing that Californians’ top issue is homelessness, and with St. Vincent Medical Center about to close, state and local authorities should jump on this opportunity by acquiring the hospital property by eminent domain. The urgent nature of the homelessness situation should be met with immediate and decisive action.

Many financial resources have been allocated and are available, so let’s act. Acquire the property, get local contractors and developers to provide services on a reasonable cost-plus basis, and start turning our vacant and wasting properties into solutions to our real problems.

Carmageddon” demonstrated that with will and planning, we can accomplish significant municipal projects efficiently and effectively. Let’s make that happen in Los Angeles in 2020.

Alice P. Neuhauser, Manhattan Beach