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Ingeborg Markowitz

My Career at Holy Cross Hospital Began Before the Hospital Opened

In the 1950s I worked as a Labor and Delivery (L&D) nurse at the old Columbia Hospital for Women before stopping to raise my family. But by the early 60s I was eager to get back to work…and a new hospital was opening up just about six blocks from my home. I heard they were looking for nurses, so I decided to just walk down one day and apply. Well, the hospital wasn’t even opened yet—nothing was finished, the floors were just concrete and so on. But I found Sister Patrick and she hired me on the spot.

I started at Holy Cross a few days later, helped get it ready for opening, and stayed on, happily, for 34 years. And I walked both ways, every day, even when I worked nights, much to the dismay of Sister Laurencita, the hospital administrator.

Sister Laurencita and Sister Victor Marie, who was in charge of L&D, were both very strict, but just marvelous. Sister Victor Marie always made certain that her patients got the best of care. And Sister Laurencita was everywhere throughout the hospital—I don’t know when she ever slept. She knew everybody and never forgot a face or name.

In L&D, there were so many changes over the years. In the beginning, fathers could only stay with their wives until they were medicated, and then it was off to the waiting room for them. And just about every mother at the time had general anesthesia. When fathers started attending the actual births, a lot of them fainted and we had to take them to the Emergency Room!

Over the years, I’ve been back to the hospital to visit and also as a patient, most recently this past February. Sadly, my husband died on the oncology unit about five years ago. But at 85, I still have fond memories – Holy Cross Hospital was a fun place to work.

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