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Letchworth Village was a residential institution located in Rockland County, New York in the hamlet of Thiells built for the physically and mentally disabled of all ages from the newborn to the elderly. Opened in 1911, Letchworth Village at its peak consisted of over 130 buildings spread out over many acres of land. On February 27, 1950, the first trial case of the polio vaccine in the United States was administered to an 8-year-old patient. After the patient suffered no side effects, the vaccine was administered to 19 more of the institution's children. In 1972, a New York affiliate of ABC News featured Letchworth Village and its appalling conditions in an episode called Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace which helped lead to reform of similar healthcare institutions throughout the United States. But prior media attention and national focus was not enough to save Letchworth Village, and by the mid-1980s, the institution was no longer being adequately funded nor properly managed and residents, including children, continued to be found unclothed, unbathed, and neglected. In addition to rampant abuse among the institution's residents, staff also suffered abuse at the hands of fellow co-workers which included incidents of rape. In 1996 the institution was permanently closed down, and many of its abandoned structures have since fallen into serious disrepair.
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