Senior leaders gather to celebrate 50 years of caring at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center including (from left to right) Brandi Cassingham, vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer; Catherine Shitara, chief operating officer; Marcia Manker, chief executive officer; Kelli Ruiz, vice president, business development; Christy Ward, president, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation; and Aaron Coley, chief financial officer, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center.

MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center proudly announces its 50th anniversary of providing high-quality, compassionate care for patients and families in the community at every stage of their lives. Over the past half-century, Saddleback Medical Center has grown from 146 beds to a state-of-the-art medical center with 248 beds and a wide array of medical services and dedicated healthcare professionals.

Since opening its doors on Jan. 27, 1974, Saddleback Medical Center has been committed to serving the medical needs of the community. Over the years, the hospital has expanded its facilities, incorporated leading technology, and increased the breadth of services to meet the growing health care needs of the area.

“As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we look forward to continuing our mission of improving the health and well-being of the individuals and families we serve,” said Marcia Manker, CEO, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center.

Highlights over the 50 years of service include:

  • In 1988, The Women’s Hospital, the birthplace of more than 75,000 babies, opens with the first Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum suites on the West Coast, and is a Level III NICU that cares for its most fragile patients.
  • In 2002, the state-of-the-art Meiklejohn Critical Care Pavilion opened. Now, the Myrtle Dermody Emergency Care Center is an accredited geriatric emergency department that specializes in care for senior patients.
  • In 2023, the Sarah & Taylor Nederlander Breast Center opened in the new Women’s Health Pavilion with integrated screening and diagnostic services.

“It all started with a vision for a healthier, thriving community,” said Christy Ward, president, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation. “Saddleback Medical Center owes its existence to the generosity and foresight of residents who, back in the 1970s, recognized the need for a hospital in south Orange County. They rallied together, collected funds, went door-to-door, and with the support of dedicated physicians and volunteers, it opened to the community.”

Through the years, generosity from the community has enabled Saddleback to continue to provide technologically advanced equipment and facilities, and elevated patient care through programs, such as cancer nurse navigators, which are funded by philanthropy.

Saddleback Medical Center has also been recognized nationally and regionally for its clinical excellence and patient safety. It has been named among America’s 250 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades consecutively for the past two years and has received the Magnet designation for nursing excellence by the American Nurse Credentialing Center. Saddleback Medical Center is also a leader in women’s health, offering personalized care through its expanded midwifery program, which will launch in February 2024.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Saddleback Medical Center hosted an event for staff members on Jan. 23, acknowledging the dedication and hard work of the individuals who play a crucial role in shaping the hospital’s legacy. Members of the community are invited to join a golden celebration at Saddleback’s Spring Gala on Apr. 20. For sponsorship or ticket information, visit

Saddleback Medical Center’s journey began 50 years ago, but its mission remains unchanged: to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and our communities.