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Saint Francis Memorial Hospital History

More than a century ago in San Francisco, a group of five physicians, doctors John Gallwey, Frank Ainsworth, Walter Coffey, M.O. Austin, and W.I Terry, took steps to build "the most up-to-date modern hospital west of Chicago." Today, Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, located on San Francisco’s Nob Hill, remains a thriving community hospital. Having weathered two world wars and major earthquakes, Saint Francis is well-equipped to continue its healing mission in San Francisco.

The first 50 years: 1905-1950

1905: Saint Francis Hospital Company is founded by five prominent San Francisco doctors.

1906: The Great Earthquake causes a fire that burns the Hospital to the ground. The home of Dr. Redmond Payne becomes the new temporary location for Saint Francis.

1911: A new 100-bed building is built at Bush & Hyde (the present Nob Hill address) and is 100 percent occupied within 10 days of opening.

1921: A 200-bed obstetrics wing is added to accommodate the post-war baby boom.

1938: The for-profit Saint Francis Hospital Company becomes the non-profit Saint Francis Hospital Association.

1952: The Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Clinic and Residency Program are established.

1955: A four-bed ward for burn patients opens. Occupational Therapy and Social Services are added.


1965: Groundbreaking for the 12-story tower takes place.

1967: The Bothin Burn Center opens as a 10-bed acute care center.

1979: The Center for Sports Medicine opens.

1984: The Project '84 Campaign raises $3.5 million for major hospital renovations.

1986: The Healthwise Senior Program is started.

1990: Saint Francis becomes the first hospital in the Bay Area to perform Laser Gall Bladder Surgery. The HIVCare Program is established. The Oncology Center and Spine Center are added to the Centers for Excellence.

1993: Saint Francis becomes a member of Dignity Health.

1999: Dignity Health and Saint Francis become the Official Health Care Provider of the San Francisco Giants.

2000: Saint Francis opens The Health Center at SBC Park (now AT&T Park).

2001: Equipped with the latest technology and expertise, The Total Joint Center opens its doors.

2002: Saint Francis scores 94 during the JCAHO/CALS survey, one of the top scores within the Dignity Health Hospital System.

2003: The Hospital installs one of the newest technologies, Patient Archiving Communication System in the Radiology Department.

2004: The Behavioral Health Day Program and the San Francisco Center for Wound Healing programs open.

2005: Saint Francis Memorial Hospital celebrates its 100th birthday!

2006: Saint Francis Memorial Hospital opens a state-of-the-art new Emergency Department and implements CareConnect, the hospital-wide paperless medical record system. The hospital also welcomes new President/CEO Tom Hennessy.

2007: The hospital goes green, replacing Styrofoam products with sustainable paper. Hospital completes restoration of 909 Hyde Street. The Bothin Burn Center celebrates its 40th anniversary, and its efforts are recognized by numerous local and national agencies and dignitaries. The Acute Rehabilitation program is certified by the Commission of Accreditation for Rehab Facilities.

2008: Saint Francis Memorial Hospital is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. Hospital awarded $80,000 in grants to local organizations promoting community health. The hospital breaks down walls to make way for the renovation and enlargement of the Surgery Department. The Bothin Burn Center is re-verified by the American College of Surgeons Trauma Division.

2009: Saint Francis opens the new Spine Care Institute of San Francisco. 

2011: Saint Francis opens nine new and most advanced operating suites in San Francisco.

2012: Saint Francis begins expansion of the Bothin Burn Center from 10 to 20 beds. Saint Francis’ Total Joint Center begins offering the Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement surgery, accelerating the patient’s recovery time.

2013: Saint Francis was recognized by the California Emergency Physician of America as a 2013 Practice of the Year.

2014: Saint Francis expands its Imaging Services Department with new advanced digital imaging technology with the addition of the Hologic Selenia Dimensions 2D Digital Mammography and the Toshiba Aquilion Prime Volumetric CT Scanning. Saint Francis launches the Online Patient Center, providing patients with a convenient, secure, and electronic way to access their hospital health information and communicate with their health care team. Saint Francis offers robotic-assisted partial knee replacement procedures, first in San Francisco. Saint Francis receives Healthgrades Five-Star rating for Hip Replacement.

 2015: Saint Francis adds CyberKnife and da Vinci Robotic Surgery to their array of surgical services. Orthopedic Institute opens, combining the Total Joint Center and Spine Care Institute of San Francisco services. 

2016: David Klein, MD, MBA, is named President of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. Saint Francis earns Blue Distinction® Care Designation for Quality in Spine Surgery and Quality in Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries.