Walter Reed Set to Close Down After More Than 100 Years of Service

Walter Reed Army Medical Center will shut down after more than 100 years of service to wounded soldiers as well as past presidents, according to the Associated Press. A ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, which will include the medical staff, as well as current and former patients.

The closing was planned in 2005, when a government commission decided to consolidate medical services in an effort to save money. After Walter Reed is shut down, services will combine with those at a hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, as well as the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, reports the AP. Moving of supplies and other medical necessities within the facility will take place during the month of August.

The hospital first opened in 1909, and has since treated soldiers serving in both World Wars as well as those injured during the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The medical center was named after Major Walter Reed, a doctor who treated Army troops and Native Americans on the frontier, reports the AP.

In 2007, a Washington Post investigation found sub-par living conditions in Building 18, one of Walter Reed’s outpatient facilities. According to the AP, recovering soldiers lived among mold and rodent droppings. The incident led to the firing of military personnel and was an embarrassment to the entire Army. Although the scandal hurt the hospital’s reputation, plans for Walter Reed’s closing were already in place by then.

Despite the center’s recent reputation, former patients and the loved ones of those cared for at the hospital are saddened by the closing of Walter Reed, noting the history within its walls. President Eisenhower died at the hospital, as well as President Coolidge’s son. Richard Nixon was treated for a staph infection at Walter Reed several years prior to his presidency. Walter Reed will officially belong to the District of Columbia and the State Department on September 15, according to the AP. The primary building is expected to be preserved as a landmark, while others might be torn down due to age. City officials may also convert some buildings into retail shops.
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Source: AP

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