Saddleback Memorial Celebrates 40 Years Providing Quality Care and Clinical Excellence to South Orange County Residents


Forty years ago today, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center opened its doors. In four decades of constant growth, Saddleback Memorial has fulfilled its non-profit mission to better serve the south Orange County community through quality care, medical innovation and advancements in technology.

“While the healthcare industry has changed dramatically over the years, the core of what we do and why we do it continues to center on delivering quality patient care to this growing community,” says Steve Geidt, CEO for Saddleback Memorial. “Our commitment to keeping the pace of emerging technology and innovation has given us the tools we need to carry that mission forward and has given the hospital its stellar reputation today.”

Formerly known as ‘Saddleback Community Hospital,’ Saddleback Memorial was at the hub of growth back in 1974. What started as a small seaside town grew rapidly with new homes, schools and businesses.  This population boom fueled the need for a comprehensive health facility to serve all the needs of the community close to home. Built from the ground up, the non-profit hospital was created due in large part to the philanthropic efforts spearheaded by community leaders.  Today, those efforts continue on a large scale through the Saddleback Memorial Foundation.

What began as a 150-bed hospital in a community serving approximately 100,000 residents has grown to a 325-bed hospital with campuses in Laguna Hills and San Clemente, serving more than 800,000 community residents.  With each year came new innovations, advancements and expansions – all to better serve the needs of local patients. The hospital has made many strides over the past 40 years and is recognized as a center of excellence in:

  • Cardiac Services
  • Stroke Care
  • OB/Maternity Services
  • Emergency and Critical Care Services
  • Orthopedic/Joint Replacement Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive/Robotic Surgery
  • Health and Wellness Services

Saddleback Memorial’s stellar reputation stems from its ability to stay on the forefront of medical innovation. Among the many innovations and “firsts” over the years include:

  • 1983 – First of several community-based Urgent Care Centers
  • 1985 – One of the first comprehensive breast care programs
  • 1988 – First fully integrated Women’s Hospital, with LDRP (Labor/ Delivery/ Recovery / Postpartum) suites and a level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • 2006 – One of the first hospitals in the nation to go fully live with an Electronic Medical Record system
  • 2012 – Designation as an epicenter / training center for robot-assisted gynecologic surgery

“Over the past decade in particular, we have witnessed dramatic changes right before our eyes with the aging population. Not only at the rate this group is turning 65, but the active lifestyles they lead now versus 40 years ago. It remains critical for us to meet the growing demand of this population.  We continue to focus on prevention and enhancing our out-patient services so patients can maintain the active lifestyles they seek,” notes Geidt.

Looking ahead, one of the most important developments currently underway is the construction of a new home for the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Saddleback Memorial. Set to open in May 2014, this Institute will serve as the hub for all cancer care services provided across the entire Saddleback Memorial campus, and will include new radiation oncology equipment as well as innovative imaging and diagnostic technologies.

“There is a synergy between the community and this hospital – I strongly believe the community makes this hospital better and the hospital makes this community better. I come to appreciate that more and more as each year passes. I could not be more proud of the success we have achieved at this 40-year milestone and look forward to celebrating many more,” concludes Geidt.