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Innovation in Action Looking Back

Last Updated Friday, August 12, 2011 2:44:31 PM

Although El Camino Hospital wouldn’t be referred to as "The Hospital of Silicon Valley" until the mid-90s, throughout our 50-year history, the organization has shared the same dynamic, entrepreneurial, innovative spirit as its geographical namesake.

El Camino Hospital Milestones--Looking Back

Milestones and Memories


Only four years after opening, the hospital added two new floors to the original four-story building. New services included a coronary care unit, transitional care unit, and a pulmonary function unit.


When engineers at Lockheed wanted a site for the world’s first medical information system, they turned to El Camino Hospital, a Silicon Valley neighbor. In 1971, MIS went live, with visitors from all over the world coming to see one of the first uses of the computer in patient care. Also in 1971, with Stanford surgeon Norman Shumway as part of the first team, the hospital began offering open-heart surgery. In 1975 the hospital expanded again, with a brand new emergency department, intensive care unit, and radiology department.


When the new OR opened in 1980, the San Jose Mercury News called it "one of the largest and most technologically advanced surgical suites in the area.” Other expansions included the Oak Pavilion, which housed one of the area’s first outpatient dialysis centers. With Silicon Valley luminary David Packard chairing the kickoff event, the El Camino Hospital Foundation was founded in 1982, with initial gifts of $1 million each from Jack and Norma Melchor and Deedee and Burton McMurtry.


Growth continued with the construction and opening of the Orchard Pavilion in 1993, an event attended by more than 6,000 families. Willow Pavilion also opened to house the surgery center, breast screening center, and MRI. And for two consecutive years, El Camino Hospital was named as one of the top 100 hospitals in country.


To meet stringent new earthquake safety guidelines mandated by California law, the hospital’s original building needed to be rebuilt. To help finance the project, a $148 million bond measure was mounted and passed, launching a decade of construction. Added were a new Oak Pavilion, parking structure, and the Melchor Pavilion medical office building. Groundbreaking for the new hospital was in 2006. Three years later, the first patients were admitted to a beautiful, modern, technologically advanced hospital building. As a tribute to our nursing excellence, the hospital was designated as the Bay Area’s first Magnet Hospital in 2005. In 2009, after acquiring the former Community Hospital, El Camino Hospital Los Gatos began admitting patients. The Center for Advanced Radiotherapy and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery opened in 2010, as did the Men’s Health Clinic and inpatient Rehabilitation Center on the Los Gatos campus.