Sacred Heart Hospital in Norristown, Pa. abruptly closed its doors and fired its staff late Tuesday night in a move that left patients, doctors, and holders of nearly $25 million of outstanding insured debt reeling.

As the facility's 97 patients and 870 employees packed up their belongings and left yesterday, local officials and executives at Municipal Bond Investors Assurance Corp. -- which backs virtually all of the hospital's outstanding bonds -- scrambled to find a way to pick up the pieces.

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