Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital
Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital (MEETH) is one of the oldest and most prestigious specialty hospitals in the world.
Founded in 1869, MEETH is a subsidiary of Lenox Hill Hospital and is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at 210th East 64th Street. MEETH is internationally recognized for its accomplishments in ophthalmology, otolaryngology and plastic surgery. MEETH provides thousands of patients a year with the highest quality and most advanced treatments available in its state of the art ambulatory surgery facilities.
Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital was granted a charter from the New York State Legislature to found a voluntary, non-profit Eye and Ear hospital on May 9, 1869. The hospital was founded based on the purpose "to alleviate the suffering of the poor and the cultivation and diffusion of sound knowledge of all that relates to the diseases of the eye and ear."
The founders of this institution included prominent citizens of the time and pioneers in the field of medicine and surgery, a group of 17 men: 14 laymen and 3 physicians with names including Agnew, Bliss, Brown, Dodge, Duncan, Egleston, Harriman, Lanier, Milbank, Paton, Phelps, Roosa, Roosevelt, and Strong. With the opening of this facility, they began a new era which was an era of hope for those afflicted by impaired vision and hearing.
On October 15, 1869, Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital was opened in a rented brownstone at 233 East 34th Street. The Hospital, which had 13 beds and an outpatient clinic, was supported primarily through charitable donations and no provision was made for private patients. Patients were asked to pay what they could, if they could, and most of them were not able to pay anything.
While the Hospital on East 34th Street was a beginning, it soon became apparent that it would not be adequate to accommodate the large number of patients seeking help there. In the first 14 months of its existence, the hospital treated 1,717 patients and 294 operations were performed in its quarters. Efforts were initiated almost immediately to raise funds for a more suitable, permanent structure.
The first permanent facility of Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital, which was located on Park Avenue and 41st Street, was completed and opened on October 3, 1881. This 75 bed Hospital quickly became a nationally recognized center for the treatment of Eye, Ear and Throat diseases and by the late 1800’s patients were coming from across the entire nation seeking the specialized care provided by the physicians at Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital.
With the number of patients increasing substantially each year, it was not long before the facilities of Manhattan Eye and Ear on Park Avenue became overburdened. On November 1, 1906, the Hospital moved to new quarters at 210 East 64th Street. This seven story building, which served as the Hospital’s primary inpatient facility for the next 76 years, is still in use, housing the outpatient department and administrative offices.
Although the location had changed twice since the opening of the Hospital in 1869, the enthusiasm and dedication of its founders remained constant, motivating the physicians and the administration of the Hospital to meet the new and greater challenges presented each day. The Annex on 63rd Street was completed in 1917, increasing the Hospitals working capacity by 30%.
In 1925, three floors were added to the main hospital building on East 64th Street. In the ensuing years, many renovation projects were undertaken to upgrade and improve this facility.
However, by the late 1970’s the Hospital was inadequate to accommodate the 10,000 inpatients and the nearly 100,000 outpatients treated here annually, and plans were initiated for a new seven floor addition to the Hospital’s complex. In addition to totally replacing the Hospital’s inpatient facilities and surgical suites, the new building allowed expansion of research programs.
Today, Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital is a major center for postgraduate training of ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists and plastic surgeons. MEETH has played a pivotal role in ophthalmic research and has many notable firsts: First allergy clinic in the United States - 1916, First diagnostic treatment clinic for glaucoma - 1942, First eye bank - 1944, First small-incision phacoemulsification cataract extraction - 1967, First cochlear implant center - 1983, First nasal center - 1989, First excimer laser vision correction trials - 1990, First laser procedure for cataract extraction - 1993. MEETH has also been a pioneer in: Photodynamic therapy for wet macular degeneration, The use of sonography (ultrasound) and angiography to diagnose a wide range of eye disorders, Ophthalmic plastic surgery, and LASIK laser vision correction.
Many world renowned physicians have been associated with MEETH, including its founders Cornelius Agnew and Daniel B. St. John Roosa, Blair Rogers, R. Townley Paton, John Marquis Converse, Edward Talbot Ely, Byron Smith, Frederick Jakobiec, Albert Hornblass, Allen Putterman, Frank Constantine, Richard Troutman, Charles Kelman, George Gorin, Frederick Shaw, Lawrence Yannuzzi, Jack Dodick, Richard Bellucci, Yale Fisher, Frederick Theodore, Norman Medow, Adolph Posner, Abraham Schlossman, David Gilbert Yates and countless others.
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