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French Hospital Medical Center has a long, rich history, having served San Luis Obispo County for more than 75 years. 

  • 1946: Dr. Edison French, a specialist who settled in San Luis Obispo after serving with the Navy Medical Corps, purchased the San Luis Sanitarium on Marsh Street and renamed it French Hospital.
  • Dr. French began practicing state-of-the-art medicine, claiming to be the first surgeon in San Luis Obispo to use intravenous anesthesia, the first to perform a lung resection, and the first to do collapsed lung therapy.
  • Dr. French encouraged other specialists to settle in the area, making French Hospital a hub for medical expertise in the region.
  • 1972: Dr. French closed the doors on Marsh Street and opened a larger French Hospital on Johnson Avenue. French Hospital today is the city of San Luis Obispo's only not-for-profit hospital.
  • 1981: French Hospital built the first catheterization laboratory and performed the first cardiac surgery in San Luis Obispo County.
  • 1998: French Hospital delivered its first baby in their brand new obstetrics unit. 
  • 2004: French Hospital Medical Center was acquired by Catholic Healthcare West.
  • 2005: French Hospital Medical Center Foundation established.
  • 2007: The Copeland, Forbes, & Rossi Cardiac Care Center opened.
  • 2008: The Hearst Cancer Resource Center and Healing Garden opened.
  • 2012: Catholic Healthcare West became Dignity Health. 
  • 2015: French Hospital opened the Copeland Health Education Pavilion.
  • 2017: French Hospital opened the Stollmeyer Family Birthing Center.  
  • 2019: Dignity Health, including French Hospital Medical Center, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and Marian Regional Medical Center, came together with Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) to create CommonSpirit Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems, focused on improving the health of the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, and advancing social justice for all.
  • 2019: Beyond Health campaign to fund Your New French Hospital kicked off.
  • 2020: French Hospital opened the Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine. 
  • 2021: The French Hospital Foundation reached a $50 million fundraising milestone. 
  • 2021: As French Hospital Medical Center celebrated its 75th anniversary, ground was broken on the Swanson Family Chapel, the first milestone in the construction of Your New French Hospital
















When French Hospital opened San Luis Obispo county was growing and so was the need for doctors especially specialists.
One such specialist was Dr. Edison French. After he served with the Navy Medical Corps, Dr. French settled in San Luis Obispo. In 1946 French purchased the San Luis Sanitarium on Marsh Street.

Dr. French renamed the sanitarium "French Hospital." There he began to practice state-of-the art medicine. He claimed to be the first surgeon in San Luis Obispo to use intravenous anesthesia, the first to perform a lung resection, and the first to do a collapsed lung therapy. He was also the first specialist to actively encourage other specialists to settle in the area.

Recruiting Doctors

One of Dr. French's recruits was Dr. Lou Tedone, a man who is beloved in the community and who likely brought thousands of little San Luis Obispo babies into the world.

New French Hospital 

In 1972, Dr. Edison French closed the doors to the French Hospital located on Marsh Street and opened the doors to a larger French Hospital located on Johnson Avenue in San Luis Obispo. Dr. French passed away in 1976, but he is still remembered and loved today. Dr. French cared deeply about his patients and his staff and he always reached out to his employees and made them feel like family. 

French Hospital today is the city of San Luis Obispo's only not-for-profit hospital.

Acquired By Dignity Health

On June 1st, 2004, French Hospital Medical Center, along with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande south of San Luis Obispo, was acquired by Dignity Health.

Dignity Health, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, is a system of 42 hospitals and medical centers in California, Arizona and Nevada. Founded in 1986, it is one of the nation's largest not-for-profit health care systems and the largest Catholic health care system based in the Western United States. Dignity Health is committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health care services with special attention to the poor and underserved. The Dignity Health network of more than 7,500 physicians and approximately 40,000 employees provides health care services to more than four million people annually. In 2004, Dignity Health provided more than $566 million in charity care and un-sponsored community benefit.