A Tribute to Millard Fillmore Hospital
This blogpost is of a different nature than the others. It is about the closing of the hospital where I and all my siblings were born. It is the hospital where my mother died in. I took classes there in 1999 for Certified Nurses Aide and again in 2005 for Patient Care Assistant.
At 6:00 on the morning of March 28, 2012, Millard Fillmore Hospital, at Gates Circle on the west side of Buffalo, New York, will close. The last patient will be transfered at that time. It is a strange coincidence that March 28 is the date that my mother died on in 1956, 56 years ago.
Correction: March 26, 7:30am: I was in error in reporting that the last patient will be transfered on March 28. That is when the Emergency Room at Millard Fillmore Gates will be closed and will not admit any more patients. All remaining inpatients will be transfered during the week of March 26 – 30, with the last patient being transfered on Friday, March 30, 2012. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have posed any one.
About 20 years ago, the hospital where I work, Buffalo General Hospital merged with Children’s Hospital on Bryant St. and Millard Fillmore. This included both locations of Millard Fillmore, the Gates Circle site and Millard Fillmore Suburban, on Hopkins Rd in Williamsville. Due to decreases in the population of Buffalo, the City of Buffalo and the surrounding area just had too many hospitals. So the merger took place to eliminate duplication of services. The new company took on the name Kaleida, from the Greek word that means “come together.”
Where Buffalo General is located, on High St., just a couple miles from downtown Buffalo, is also Roswell Park Cancer Institute. There is also Buffalo Medical Group at 85 High St., right across from BGH (Buffalo General Hospital). Several years ago, in conjuncion with the University of New York at Buffalo (UB), which holds the UB Medical School, and other corporations got together and developed the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Bio-tech and other research companies began setting up their companies in this medical corridor, centered around Ellicott St. Some buildings have already been torn down in preparation for more expansion. The old Deaconess Hospital on Humboldt Parkway, which ceased to be a hospital about 20 years and was a long term nursing home, moved to it’s newly constructed facility on Michigan Ave. right next door to BGH, just last October. A new employee’s parking ramp has been built on the old High St. parking lot. A doctor’s office building at 50 High St. was torn down a few years ago. The Community Medical Health Center on Goodrich and Ellicott was demolished and a brand new wing to BGH was built – The Gates Vascular Institute, which holds a brand-new state-of-the-arts Emergency Department. It is impressive. The GVI is connected to Buffalo General Hospital.
Future plans are to build a new state-of-the-art Children’s Hospital on the site of the old doctor’s office building at 50 High. This will be completed in just 2 or 3 years. But the current news is the complete moving of patients and services from the MFH Gates site to Buffalo General Hospital and The Gates Vascular Institute.
Buffalo General has had an impressive history, starting out as a small United States Army Hospital in the Civil War. Eventually new buildings were added on and it became a hospital for the general populace and even had it’s own school for nurses. It affiliated itself with Fosdick Masten High School, located on North St., between Fosdick and Masten streets, and is only 3 blocks from BGH. Fosdick Masten at that time was a girl’s vocational school, and held classes geared towards the domestic and medical sciences. The girls who were interested in becoming nurses or nurses aides, would come in the afternoons to volunteer with BGH patients as Candy-Stripers. In the 1970’s, when the Buffalo Public Schools restructed itself, Fosdick Masten ceased to be an all girls school and changed it’s name to City Honors.
Millard Fillmore Hospital at Gates has also had an impressive history. It actually started out as a small alternative hospital in downtown Buffalo at the corner of Washington and North Division. It was called The Buffalo Homeopathic Hospital and moved to larger facilities at Gates Circle in 1911. In 1923, to honor former United States President Millard Fillmore, the faciltiy changed its name to Millard Fillmore Hospital.
Millard Fillmore was born on January 7, 1800 in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. He lived in E. Aurora, in the Southtowns region, south of Buffalo, New York. After becoming a lawyer, he and his new bride moved to Buffalo. He served in one of the most prestigeous law firms in the area, and co-founded the University of Buffalo and The Buffalo Historical Society. He died on March 8, 1874 and is buried in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetary. Chapin Parkway, a street branching off Gates Circle, is a direct eye-line route from the hospital to Millard Fillmore’s grave. Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States, 1850-1853.
I myself attended Millard Fillmore Junior High School, on Appenheimer St, for the grades 8 and 9. That school is now called Campus East. For a humorous little American pop culture trivia, the kids on the TV show The Brady Bunch also attended a school called Millard Fillmore Junior High School. sigh, what a shame it wasn’t the actual school I was at, I would have been able to see the late Davy Jones of the Monkees when he came to the school’s prom on Marcia Brady’s behest.
So it is with some degree of sentimental sadness that I say farewell to Millard Fillmore Hospital, the place I was born in. But I welcome the new and exciting changes to Buffalo General Hospital, which is now called Buffalo General Medical Center.
The staff at Millard Fillmore Gates have been taking up their new assignments, some going to Millard Fillmore Suburban, some to Buff Gen. Integrating the staffs has sometimes been difficult. With varying degrees of seniority at our locations, some people have been bumped out of their positions, having to take an equal-based position in another department. Some, sadly, have been laid off. Some have chosen retirement.
Beginning in January of this year, a couple of nursing units at Gates closed down, and the staff came over to Buff Gen. My nursing unit “merged” with Gates’8 West. Four of 8 West’s PCAs (Patient Care Assistants) transfered to our unit at that time. They are hard workers, excellant PCAs and good people. I welcome them and all the other Millard Fillmore staff.
I have been an employee at Buff Gen for 39 years. As my years to retirement are now counting down, and as much as I sometimes grouse about having to drag myself in for another night of hard work, I find myself looking forward to my last years at BGH as exciting ones. I’ve seen many changes through the years. But the one thing that has always remained consistent is good patient care. Not only have I been an employee at Buff Gen, but at several times, been a patient there. And my husband had surgery there just two years ago. We both received excellant care. Not because I am an employee, and got preferential treatment, but because the staff was just that good. I think with Millard Fillmore’s staff coming over to join our family, and enriching our staff, it can only be a good thing.
I am reminded of my Bennett High School’s alma mater – I actually forgot all the lyrics except this one line: “Bennett, Bennett, lead us onward, for the best is yet to be.” I want to apply it for our new Buffalo General Medical Center, The Gates Vascular Institute and the future new Children’s Hospital:
Kaleida – lead us onward – for the best is yet to be.
EXCELLENT, Ruth, EXCELLENT!
I raise a cup/horn/glass…to Millard Fillmore and his legacies!
And to the hospital where we were born and where our mother died!
I worked briefy in the Veterans Administration hospital 1977-1982 and attended classes across the street, at the SUNY Buffalo, in Dental and other Liberal Arts. I know and appreciate the many changes, over the years, that happen to cities, populations, major buildings and all the support staff and welcome knowing more about Millard Fillmore Hospital.
Long may the memories of this hospital be known!
Long may the memory of our MOTHER be known!
Thanks for all your info. I must say, you are most knowledgable on your Buffalo Hospitals! I can tell, you must be a wonderful, skilled, and caring nurse.
I was a Nurse’s Aide at Millard, had my firstborn there, said good-bye to both my parents there. Whenever I was in the Buffalo area (as we moved several years ago to Rochester) I would always stop at Millard, have a cup of coffee and take a walk down memory lane.
Memories live on in the heart.
I was also confused – because the local tv stations were reporting that the last patient was being discharged/transfered this morning at 6am. But Buffalo General’s internal website was reporting that would take place on Saturday, March 31. Then again, this morning on the 6am news on Channel 4 TV – WIVB, it was reported by on-scene reporters that all the patients were gone and the doors were closing.
It is a sad day, but as you say, “Memories live on in the heart.”