Emergency room reopens to ambulances at former Mercy Hospital in Bronzeville
CHICAGO - Less than a year after nearly closing its doors for good, the old Mercy Hospital in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood is back in business in a big way.
That includes a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to mark the return of ambulance service to the hospital’s emergency room, as one of Chicago’s oldest hospitals is officially off life support.
"I saw an ambulance come into the parking lot and I got excited. I knew they would get good care here," said Bronzeville resident and community activist Rev. Robert Jones.
For the first time in years the old Mercy emergency room is taking ambulances-dozens a day-which takes stress off other hospitals, and drastically cuts response time for local residents in crisis.
"Minutes matter when it comes to the brains, the heart, the body," said Emergency Department Chairwoman Dr. Anita Goyal. "So opening back up allows us to be able to care in that moment for those patients."
Mercy was Chicago’s first chartered Hospital when it opened in 1852. But it was losing millions of dollars when its owners tried to close it in 2020, a move that prompted protests in the parking lot.
Because of that outcry the state refused to allow Mercy to shut its doors and last year the City of Chicago sold it for one dollar to Insight, a hospital company based in Michigan.
Insight has now pledged to spend $50 million to save the institution — now called Insight Hospital and Medical Center Chicago.
"It’s so exciting to see ambulances coming in again, but also to know this is the beginning of a rebirth, I think, of world-class healthcare right in the Bronzeville community," said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.
Among those celebrating we’re the protesters who helped keep the hospital open.
"It’s surreal. I think we have to take a deep breath and pause and really reflect on the power of vision, and the power of folks saying ‘not on our watch.’"