In downtown Indianapolis, Wishard Memorial Hospital is closing its doors this morning. Patients and staff are moving to the brand new 754-million dollar Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Health facility two blocks away. Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, the U.S. Naval Reserves, the Indiana National Guard, and multiple ambulance services from throughout Central Indiana and over 300 volunteers are assisting in the transfer.
Hospital officials say Eskenazi Health will be the first new complete public hospital campus relocation in the nation since Chicago’s John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital opened in 2002 to replace Cook County Hospital, and it will be the first time in more than 40 years Indianapolis has seen a new downtown hospital campus. The history of Wishard goes back to 1855 when a smallpox epidemic prompted Indianapolis to begin building a hospital, which opened four years later as City Hospital, and after a couple other name changes, became Wishard Memorial in 1975.