Nurses protest name of St. Louis hospital

A group of nurses and community members demonstrated July 17 outside a newly constructed healthcare facility in north St. Louis to protest the hospital's name, St. Louis Today reported.

The not-yet-opened Homer G. Phillips Memorial Hospital is under fire for using Mr. Phillips' name. A lawsuit filed by the Homer G. Phillips Nurses' Alumni group argues the name violates its trademark and developers appropriated the name to "trade on and profit from" the original hospital's name recognition.

The original hospital was named after Homer G. Phillips, an influential attorney who campaigned for the city to set aside money for a new hospital to serve Black communities. He was shot and died in 1931. Homer G. Phillips Hospital opened in 1937 and served Black residents during segregation as well as drew Black physicians and nurses. The hospital closed in 1979, and today the building is used for apartments for older adults, the report said.

Some community members have argued that using the late civil rights leader's name for the new hospital is cultural appropriation. 

Joseph Dulle, an attorney for the new hospital, said his clients believe they are honoring the tradition of Mr. Phillips "by doing just what he attempted to do" by adding a full-service healthcare facility in north St. Louis. 

The hospital was meant to open in spring 2022 but is still awaiting its initial inspection, according to St. Louis Today.

Editor's note: This article was updated July 18 at 4:30 CT.

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