Epitaph for Hahnemann Hospital

Posted in Cross Roads, Class Notes, Fall 2019

A special exhibit this fall looks back at the institution from which Drexel’s College of Medicine was born — and sets the stage for a fresh start with our newly acquired hospital: St. Christopher’s.

two nurses by an ambulance

An undated photo of Hahnemann’s ambulance service from Drexel Archives.

The bankruptcy and closure of Hahnemann University Hospital over the summer marked an abrupt end to a 171-year-old legacy known for path-making medical firsts in the fields of homeopathy, anatomy, cardiology and transplants, as well as for progressive medical education. The hospital’s history will be on display in an exhibit presented by The Drexel Collection through Jan. 10 in the Paul Peck Alumni Center.

“Drexel College of Medicine is an amalgamation of Hahnemann, the Woman’s Medical College and eventually the Medical College of Pennsylvania; these institutions have been rooted in Philadelphia and, frankly, they’ve changed the world,” said College of Medicine Dean Charles B. Cairns recently.

At the time of Hahnemann’s bankruptcy, about 30 percent of Drexel’s third- and fourth-year students were in clinical clerkships at the hospital, and clinical faculty relied on it for research and patient visits. Drexel has adapted by forging closer ties to Tower Health, a six-hospital system with locations in the Philadelphia area, that will ensure that Drexel medical students continue to receive excellent hospital training. And, at press time, Drexel and Tower Health had acquired St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children from the owner of Hahnemann, preserving St. Chris’ legacy of providing nationally recognized programs for children.

Expect to hear more about what Drexel’s relationship with Tower Health and ownership of St. Chris’ will mean for the College of Medicine in future issues of Drexel Magazine.

1848 The Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania opens at 625 Arch St.; later named Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital.
1850 Female Medical College of Pennsylvania (later Woman’s Medical College) is established. It was the world’s first degree-granting medical school for women, and it graduated the country’s first Native-American woman doctor and the first woman with a Western medical degree from India.
1888 Rufus B. Weaver conducts the world’s first dissection of a complete nervous system.
1890 Hahnemann opens its hospital-based nursing program, the Training School for Nurses.
1920 The country’s first school of X-ray technology opens.
1928 The new 20-story hospital at 230 North Broad St. is the country’s first “skyscraper” teaching hospital.
1948 Charles P. Bailey, MD ’32, performs the world’s first successful closed-heart valvular surgery.
1967 The world’s first graduate-level creative arts therapy education program launches.
1993 Allegheny Health acquires Hahnemann and combines it with the Medical College of Pennsylvania to form MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine.
1998 Tenet Healthcare Corp. buys Hahnemann and forms an academic affiliation with Drexel to manage Hahnemann’s medical school with financial assistance.
2002 Drexel exercises an option to assume ownership of the medical school from Tenet and renames it Drexel College of Medicine.
2018 American Academic Health System purchases Hahnemann and St. Christopher’s from Tenet for $170 million.
June 2019 American Academic Health System files for bankruptcy and closes Hahnemann two months later.
Sept 2019 Drexel and Tower Health acquire St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children out of bankruptcy court for $50 million.

cover of time magazine

1948 Charles P. Bailey, MD ’32, performs the world’s first successful closed-heart valvular surgery.


Look for more about our aquisition of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in upcoming issues.