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The Legacy of the Santa Ana Hospital 

Western Medical Center Turns 100 Years Old

Western Medical Center on Tustin Avenue has a long history of service in the Santa Ana area community.  2002, marked its 100th birthday.  Featured below is a promotional piece issued in 1905 - 3 years after it's opening.  










The Main Hospital Building in 1905


Santa Ana Hospital 
and Training School for Nurses


Among the enterprises of Santa Ana, there is not one in which the city should take more pride than the Santa Ana Hospital.


In 1901, a number of the physicians and surgeons of this city, seeing the great need of an institution for the better care of the sick and injured, organized an association for the purpose indicated, and incorporated under the name and title of the Santa Ana Hospital Association. The capital stock consisted of one hundred shares, of the par value of one hundred dollars each.


Six lots situated between East Washington street on the north, and Wellington Avenue on the south, having a frontage of one hundred and fifty feet on each street, were purchased at a moderate price, and a suitable building at once begun. This building of twelve rooms, costing with lots and furniture an even six thousand dollars, was completed and furnished for the reception of patients march 5, 1902, the first patient being a surgical case, admitted on that date.


The original stockholders and incorporators were: C. D. Ball, M.D., J. P. Boyd, M.D., R. A. Cushman, M.D., E. M. Freeman, M.D., J. R. Medlock, M.D., F. M. Bruner, M.D., J. G. Berneike, M.D., John L. Dryer, M.D., J.M. Lacey, M.D., W.B. Wood, M.D., and John Wehrly, M.D.

These also constituted the first directorate which was organized as follows: President, J. M. Lacey, M.D., Secretary, C. D. Ball, M.D., Vice President, W. B. Wood, M.D., Treasurer, J. P. Boyd, M.D., Board of Managers - John L. Dryer, M.D., C. D. Ball, M.D., F. M. Bruner, M.D.


 As was expected by the management, business at first came slowly, but it came surely, the increase being steady from the beginning. Surgical cases such as formerly were taken to Los Angeles hospitals, were now operated and cared for at home, while local surgeons under the improved facilities for caring for such patients, were enabled to operate on many who under other circumstances would have been sent away.


Communities are nearly always, in a measure, naturally resistant to new innovations, but though some thought a hospital venture unwarranted, and others predicted failure, the courage and persistency of the promoters were rewarded with marked success. Early in 1904, less than two years from the beginning, the original accommodations were found inadequate to the growing business, and steps were at once taken to correct the existing conditions. The capital stock of the Association was increased from ten thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars, and one hundred shares at once placed on the market, at par value. The response of the citizens of Santa Ana to this call was immediate, and the entire amount was readily placed among business people, who had come to realize the advantage of, and the necessity for, an institution of this nature. So prompt was this expression of confidence, that not over four hours actual time was consumed by the canvassing committee in disposing of this new stock; while of those seen, less than a half dozen persons declined to aid the enterprise.


With the proceeds of these sales new buildings were erected and furnished, new apparatus secured, and all necessary facilities improved up to a full capacity for twenty-five patients. These include a maternity department of four elegantly fitted rooms with all necessary accessories, such as bath and dressing room for babies, closets, sterilizers, etc., also two small wards of five beds each for such patients as desire attendance at a moderate price; a well equipped modern kitchen, dining room and dormitory for nurses; diet kitchen, dumb waiter and elevator for transferring patients from one story to another.


Throughout the entire hospital the conditions for ventilation, light and thorough cleanliness are perfect, from the basement to the operating room, and thus far among the comparatively large number of surgical and maternity cases, no instance of sepsis or blood poisoning has ever developed within its walls.


The following facts taken from the record of the superintendent of nurses, for a period covering the years from March 5, 1902 to November 1, 1905, will present a fair estimate of the work already done, and also of the promises for the future:


Patients Cared For:

Surgical Cases  42
Medical Cases 23
Maternity Cases 3
Total  68

Surgical Cases 59
Medical Cases 45
Maternity Cases  10
Total  114

Surgical Cases  77
Medical Cases  63
Maternity Cases  11
Total 151

1905 (ten months)
Surgical Cases 77
Medical Cases 87
Maternity Cases 17
Total 181


The grand totals from the beginning show that during a period of three years and seven months, five hundred and fourteen cases have been cared for, of which two hundred and fifty three have been surgical, two hundred and sixteen medicinal, and that forty one babies have been born in the hospital. A very large percentage of the surgical cases were operative, the remainder being classed as fractures, dislocations, etc.


The present organization, as effected at the annual board meeting, Oct. 24, 1905, is as follows: Board of Directors - C. D. Ball, M.D., F. M. Bruner, M.D., John L. Dryer, M.D., H.S. Gordon, M.D., J. R. Medlock, M.D., John Wehrly, M.D.,  W. H. Waffle, M.D., D. H. Thomas, A. J. Visel, W. F. Lutz, Horatio Forgy. Officers - President, John L. Dreyer, M.D., Vice President, F. M. Bruner, M.D., Secretary, C. D. Ball, M.D., Treasurer, H. S. Gordon, M.D. Board of Managers - John L. Dryer, M.D., F. M. Bruner, M.D., C. D. Ball, M.D., H. S. Gordon, M.D., D. H. Thomas. Superintendent of Nurses - Mrs. D. G. Harlan


The Santa Ana Hospital is a private enterprise open to all respectable physicians who desire to avail themselves of its facilities. The capital now invested is sixteen thousand dollars, or one hundred and sixty shares of the capital stock, in use. This is interest bearing, the earnings from the last year justifying a 5% dividend paid November 1.

Training School for Nurses

Shortly after the hospital was opened it was deemed advisable by the management to associate with it a training school for nurses according to a Santa Ana Hospital Training School for Nurses was incorporated under the laws of the State of California in April 1904.


Since then four students have been graduated, Minnie Northrop Wyatt, Nellie M. Morrison, L. Maud Norris, and Katie A. Rutherford. With the exception of Mrs. Wyatt, who resides in Mexico, the other ladies are engaged in active work of their profession in Santa Ana.


At present a three years course is required for graduation. The instructors include the leading physicians and surgeons of Santa Ana and Orange.


This school compares favorably with any like institution in the State. By competitive examination Mrs. Wyatt (Miss Northrop) won an appointment in the Children's Floating Hospital, Boston, and another in the Foundling Hospital, New York City, over many competitors from all parts of the United States.

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