Welcome, St. Vincent’s Medical Center

St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport officially joins Hartford HealthCare this fall, marking the system’s entry into Fairfield County. Here are a few fun facts about the newest member of the family.

By Anne Rondepierre

• A new hospital building, now called St. Vincent’s Medical Center and built behind the old one, opened over Palm Sunday weekend in 1976. It was a huge undertaking, with patients being transported from one building to the other.

• The Michael J. Daly Emergency Department is named after a man who received the Medal of Honor for actions in World War II, when he single-handedly eliminated 15 German soldiers and a German patrol, and destroyed three machine-gun nests.

• The Birthplace at St. Vincent’s is the only in-hospital midwifery center in Fairfield County.

• The front of the cancer center, opened in 2010, was designed to resemble a pier, symbolic of the SWIM Across the Sound fundraiser that played a big role in funding its construction.

• Igor Sikorsky, of Sikorsky Helicopter fame, was on St. Vincent’s board of directors.

• St. Vincent’s launched the first statewide initiative to eliminate all-cause preventable harm using high reliability science. This led to the signing of state Senate Bill 248, which expanded the disclosure of medical errors at hospitals.

• St. Vincent’s Hospital opened in 1905 on Hawley Farm at a cost of $250,000. A tireless local priest, a group of Catholic doctors and seven members of the Daughters of Charity, who traveled from Maryland, are credited with bringing the new hospital to fruition.

• Daughters of Charity, known by their “Flying Nun” coronets or headdresses, served at the hospital until 2014.

From left to right: Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images Entertainment; Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Entertainment; Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment

• Musician John Mayer was born at St. Vincent’s, as was actress Meg Ryan. Actor John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Clavin on the television show “Cheers” and was born and raised in Bridgeport, once recorded a commercial for SWIM Across the Sound.

• St. Vincent’s unique cancer charity, SWIM Across the Sound, features a 15.5-mile marathon swim from Port Jefferson to Captain’s Cove, and has raised millions of dollars since 1987.