Kings County Hospital Center was founded more than 175 years ago. The hospital we know today has its origins in an institution known as the Almshouse that evolved in the 18th and 19th centuries. The hospital sits on land that was bought from the Martense family for three thousand dollars. In 1837, a hospital building was completed; this building, 86 feet long by 36 feet wide, was the beginning of the present extensive physical plant which has become one of the largest municipal hospitals in the United States.
Through the years, many projects were completed within the Center bringing physical growth and improved clinical facilities for patient care and teaching of all types and levels of health workers. The lay Advisory Board, composed of outstanding members of the community, devoted to the activities and welfare of the hospital, was established in May 1951. It has been succeeded by a Community Advisory Board officially installed May 12, 1972, and an active Consumer Council dedicated to the objective of optimum and concerned patient care.
The Center has claimed many "firsts" in the field of medicine: it was the site of the first open-heart surgery performed in New York State; Kings County physicians invented the world's first hemodialysis machine, conducted the first studies of HIV infection in women and produced the first human images using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition, Kings County was named the first Level 1 Trauma Center in the U.S.
Throughout the growth and development of Kings County Hospital Center, devoted administrative, medical, nursing and hospital staff have generously given of their knowledge, time and talents to fulfill the words of the hospital dedication: "Let all who serve here remember that this institution is dedicated to the care of all who are helpless and afflicted. This before all else."