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Los Angeles' Oldest Hospital, Popular with Asians, Closes Its Doors

FILE - Chinatown in Los Angeles, California
FILE - Chinatown in Los Angeles, California

The oldest hospital in Los Angeles and a major pillar in the city's large Chinese community has shut its doors after 157 years.

The Pacific Alliance Medical Center -- better known in the city as French Hospital -- closed down with little notice or ceremony, leaving its clientele of newly arrived Asian immigrants and elderly Chinese stunned and saddened.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the hospital has been losing money and cannot afford the $100 million in earthquake renovations required by California state law.

The hospital began treating patients in 1860 and was called the French Hospital because the majority of its patients were French.

As the 19th century moved into the 20th, newly-arrived Chinese immigrants settled in the neighborhood around the hospital and the area soon became known as Chinatown.

French Hospital grew into an indispensable part of Chinatown, serving generations of families. The cafeteria featured an Asian menu and the hospital sponsored youth sports teams and many community events.

Chinatown activists say seniors are going to be severely affected by the closing. Many were able to walk to the facility for simple medical care and free health classes.

They also worry about the more than 600 people who are now out of a job and have reached out to city leaders to find a way to keep the hospital operating.