San Francisco General Hospital
The Level I Trauma Program: History
San Francisco has a long history of providing quality healthcare to all San Francisco residents. The following chronicles the history of health services delivery in San Francisco and the importance of the Level I Trauma Center in that history.
1996 to the Present
1849 The City established the role of City physician.
1872 The City built a hospital which could accommodate 400 patients at Potrero Avenue.
1904 The City operated four emergency hospitals (Central, Harbor, Park, and Potrero).
1906 The Potrero hospital treated earthquake survivors for earthquake-related injuries and the resulting plague.
1909 Mission Emergency Hospital built at 23rd Street and Potrero Avenue. By the 1930's all serious injuries were sent to this facility.
Hospital dedication, May 1915
1915 The City dedicated a new hospital on the Potrero site with four main ward buildings, an administration building, and a receiving building.
1950's Two-way radios provided in ambulances. In 1953, the City had 13 ambulances, with 5 in operation 24-hours/day.
1968 San Francisco General Hospital was designated as a Trauma Center. First complete trauma system in the United States.
1970s- Emergency Medicine, Nursing, and Paramedics recognized as new disciplines in healthcare.
1972 Federal Trauma Center designation. Senator Alan Cranston dedicated the Trauma Center.
1975 Founding of the Trauma Foundation, a private not-for-profit dedicated to injury prevention.
1976 The City dedicated a new acute care hospital on the Potrero campus.
1989 San Francisco Injury Center established as one of 15 CDC funded centers in the United States.
1991 San Francisco Emergency Medical Services Agency designated SFGH as a Level I Trauma Center and the American College of Surgeons verified SFGH as a Level I Trauma Center
2001 SFGH launched a Traumatic Brain Injury Program under the direction of Dr. Martin Holland, Chief of Neruosurgery.
2002 Trauma Fellowship established.
2003 SFGH Trauma Recovery Center created.
2004 Trauma Center designation and verification reviewed.
Historical information on this page is from the book "Catastrophes, Epidemics, and Neglected Diseases: San Francisco General Hospital and the Evolution of Public Care" written by F. William Blaisdell, MD and Moses Grossman, MD. The book is available for sale from the The San Francisco General Hospital Foundation for a cost of $30.
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