Eden Medical Center: History of Care in the Community
California, the nation and the world were very different places in November 1954, when Eden Medical Center first opened its doors.
The early days of the Cold War dominated the international scene. McDonald’s wouldn’t open its first restaurant for another year, Disneyland was still a dream on the drafting boards, and Dwight Eisenhower was president. There were no personal computers, no Internet, no cell phones. Medicine was far less complex and less connected to high technology than it is today.
What has remained constant is Eden’s mission as a not-for-profit community hospital -- to care for the health and well being of the diverse communities it serves.
Eden’s impact is woven deeply into the fabric of this region. Over five decades, more than 70,000 babies have been delivered at Eden. Hundreds of physicians and thousands of nurses and employees have worked at Eden. Volunteers and donors have raised money, raised spirits and eased pain for innumerable patients and their families. Countless surgeries, lab tests and medical procedures have saved lives, repaired injuries and inseparably linked Eden to the people of its community.
Growing with the Community
By the late 1940s, it became clear that the Eden Township – Hayward, San Leandro, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and parts of Union City and Oakland – desperately needed a local hospital.
By 1948, a dedicated group of community leaders created the Eden Township Healthcare District and launched plans to build a district hospital. Area voters overwhelmingly approved this blueprint for the future, and passed two bond measure to achieve their goal. At a cost of just over $2 million, Eden Township District Hospital was built. The first patient was admitted on Nov. 15, and the first baby was welcomed two days later.
The new hospital focused on the basics – general medicine and surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics. Throughout the 1950s, Eden regularly set and exceeded its own records for births. It became common for the local papers to breathlessly report these results, under headlines such as “Eden Hospital Breaks All Records.” Eden surgeons also drew international attention in 1956 for the first successful limb reattachment in the world.
The hospital soon was bursting at the seams, and within a few years, Eden reported more admissions and births than any East Bay hospital, and more newborns than any San Francisco hospital. No wonder, then, that Eden’s first major expansion started in 1957.
A Changing Landscape
The decades that followed brought great advancements, including a new Intensive Care Unit and a 24-hour physician-staffed Emergency Department, a flurry of additions for physical therapy, laboratory, radiology and radiation therapy, surgery and recovery areas, and conference rooms to accommodate Eden’s growing use as a community gathering place. The District also built Baywood Court Retirement Community in Castro Valley to meet the community’s need for safe, comfortable retirement living and care for seniors.
Turning to Trauma
In 1986, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors designated Eden as the Trauma Center for southern Alameda County. The Trauma Center opened in January 1987, staffed 24 hours a day by teams of surgeons, nurses and technicians. By the end of its first year, Eden’s Trauma Center had treated more than 1,150 patients.
The Trauma Center’s value was most evident in October 1989 when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the Bay Area. Dozens of victims were rushed to trauma centers at Highland Hospital in Oakland and at Eden, where more than 40 earthquake survivors were treated. Since then, Eden has served more than 24,000 trauma victims and their families, and has helped thousands of others through outreach programs to reduce trauma-related injuries and deaths.
Eden’s performance under intense pressure following the earthquake won regional and national attention, and earned the heartfelt thanks of the community. That influence and regard led to Eden’s designation by the White House to care for the president of the United States and other dignitaries when traveling in the vicinity.
In the 1990s, the managed care revolution hit the region’s hospitals hard, leading to many hospital mergers or closures. The time was right for Eden to find a partner that shared its mission and not-for-profit values, and its vision for the future. After a rigorous search, Eden affiliated with Sutter Health, a decision that was supported by voters in 1997 in what was then the second largest special election the state of California.
The Sutter Health affiliation brought stability, support, significant clinical initiatives and patient safety efforts, and a renewed hope for the future, all which would have been beyond Eden’s abilities without the support of Sutter Health.
The Next Chapter
Eden’s history, like all histories, took a giant leap forward on December 1, 2012 with the opening and move into a new state-of-the-art facility.
Planning for the new hospital began in the mid-1990s in preparation for new laws governing seismic safety in California hospitals. We broke ground in July, 2009 and officially opened for business just three-and-a-half years later--a timeline virtually unheard of for a project of this magnitude and complexity. The project includes a 7-story hospital and adjacent 4-story medical office building. The project was funded entirely by Sutter Health with no taxpayer money used.
Learn more about our new hospital.