Linda Vista Community Hospital, Los Angeles, California

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IMG_2473  The hospital was first built in 1904 (originally named Santa Fe Coastlines Hospital) for Santa Fe Railroad employees. In its early days the hospital did well, much like the Boyle Heights neighborhood around it. In 1924, the Hospital expanded to accomodate an increased patient census. In 1937, the Hospital changed its name to Linda Vista Community Hospital.

IMG_2404After the Second World War, east Los Angeles county slowly transformed into a less affluent area. The Hospital faced lowered funding, and in turn reduced its operations. This change was blamed for an increase in the Hospital’s death rates. By the 1970s and 1980s, Linda Vista Community Hospital treated a fair share of gunshot wounds and stabbings from the local neighborhoods, which did not help its mortality statistics.

The change in hospital demographics and increase in uninsured patients ultimately forced the Hospital to stop accepting ambulance runs in the emergency department. An article from the Los Angeles Times on May 4, 1988 discussed the difficulties faced by Los Angeles County hospitals, including Linda Vista Community Hospital, in delivering emergency medical services to the community:

Three more private hospitals in downtown Los Angeles have picked up applications to dIMG_2248ramatically curtail their emergency room service, it was disclosed Tuesday. A fourth was feared to be considering doing so as well. “We may be looking at 2,000 ambulances a month that will have to go someplace else,” said Virginia Price Hastings, a county health official. “I don’t know what we’ll do.”

On Monday, the busiest private emergency room in the county, California Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles, announced that because of financial losses, the center will downgrade its busy emergency room to standby status effective June 1. This means that doctors will be “on call” rather than on the premises, and that about 800 rescue ambulances a month will have to be rerouted to other hospitals.

But three of those facilities in the line of fire–Hospital of the Good Samaritan, Linda Vista Hospital andFrench Hospital of Los Angeles–have indicated their reluctance to take up the slack. Hastings said the three have obtained applications from the county to change their emergency room status.

The three hospitals combined now accept about 550 rescue ambulances per month, with most of them going to Good Samaritan.

If Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center were to downgrade its emergency room service too, as some officials fear, another 600 ambulances would have to be rerouted. This would amount to a total of about 2,000 ambulances monthly that would have to be absorbed by the rest of the county’s emergency network. Countywide, there are about 80 hospitals with emergency rooms that accept rescue ambulances.

Hastings predicted that the problem will “boomerang” into longer paramedic response times and more-crowded emergency rooms.

Compared to the recent trauma center crisis, Hastings said, “This is much more serious.”

In the last two years, seven area hospitals, including California Medical Center, have closed their trauma centers.

Trauma patients account for only about 15,000 of the 400,000 annual paramedic runs by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, she said. “Trauma is an important but very small subset of all the emergency cases handled by paramedics–the drug overdoses, heart attacks, seizures and so on,” she said.

The quality of care at Linda Vista Community Hospital continued to decline as doctors moved to other hospitals. Finally, in 1991, the hospital ceased operations.

SIMG_2243ince 1991, Linda Vista Community Hospital has opened its doors to Hollywood, serving as the set for movies such as Outbreak, Ends of Days, and Pearl Harbor, not to mention television shows like ER, Dexter, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Notwithstanding the proven utility as a Hollywood set, Linda Vista Community Hospital is also famous for being haunted.
Reports of unexplained events came from security and film crews alike. Witnesses claim to have seen darting shadows, heard unexplained cries and humming, and some even claim to have been touched and/or pushed by ghosts. Three spirits in particular have had reappearing roles in the Hospital: a little girl who lurks in a surgical room; a young woman who paces the third floor hallways; and the ghost of a hospital worker still making rounds. While there is no official confirmation that Linda Vista Community Hospital is haunted, there is no dispute that it no longer provides health care services to the local community.

Health care concerns in the United States are not new. The nation’s response today, however, is somewhat historical. The success or failure of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may one day hinge on how well the general public understands its access, and entitlement, to health care. But even as health care reform continues to unfold over the next several years, information and education will always be an important and effective tool in ensuring the survival of our nation’s health care delivery system.

Photography by: Cris Dobbins


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Posted: October 13, 2014


Category: All, California, Lost Hospitals


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