Cleveland Clinic grew out of World War I.
George Crile Sr. Frank Bunts. William Lower. Three physicians working in military hospitals near the front lines.
They were impressed by the efficiency of military medicine.
As the guns roared, they made plans … a new kind of medical center, a hybrid of the best military and civilian practices.
It was to be an idealistic enterprise. A not-for-profit group practice. Specialists collaborating for the best outcomes. Research and education carried out alongside patient care.
Building a Hospital
Back home in Cleveland, Crile, Bunts and Lower were joined by a fourth physician partner. John Phillips.
They raised money. Built a building. And opened Cleveland Clinic in February 1921.
The new clinic quickly outgrew its four-story offices. A hospital was added in 1924. New research facilities were completed.
Founder George Crile drove Cleveland Clinic's early success. He was outspoken. Energetic. A skilled surgeon and a natural leader. An honorary member of the Royal College of Surgeons, he had an international following.
Tragedy followed Cleveland Clinic's early success. In May 1929, an explosion of X-ray film created toxic fumes that took the lives of more than 120 patients, physicians and employees. The disaster inspired new regulations making hospitals everywhere safer.
Under the leadership of Dr. Crile, Cleveland Clinic survived the tragedy and weathered the Great Depression. Its medical personnel served with honor in World War II.
By the 1950s, the momentum was back. Heart care was making news. Cleveland Clinic cardiologist F. Mason Sones discovered moving cine-coronary angiography. A way of seeing into the heart. He confirmed that heart attacks were caused by coronary occlusion. The stage was set for another breakthrough.
In 1967, Cleveland Clinic surgeon René Favaloro performed the world's first published coronary artery bypass.
The work of Sones and Favaloro launched the modern era of heart care. Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons of the first rank came to train at Cleveland Clinic. Many joined the staff.
With its reputation for heart care secure, Cleveland Clinic strengthened its other specialties. The size of the campus more than doubled … A new outpatient building … new hospital … the Cole Eye Institute … Lerner Research Institute … Taussig Cancer Center … All went up in the 1980s and 1990s.
Surrounding communities grew. So did demand for medical services.
Cleveland Clinic expanded regionally. It built 16 family health and surgery centers.
From 1995 to 1998, Cleveland Clinic gained a system of Community Hospitals – Marymount Hospital, Lakewood Hospital, Fairview Hospital, Lutheran Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Huron Hospital, Euclid Hospital, South Pointe Hospital and (in 2009) Medina Hospital.
Demand extended outside Ohio.
An integrated medical campus was built in Weston, Florida. Cleveland Clinic Florida has now expanded to an office in West Palm Beach. Cleveland Clinic manages cardiac surgery programs in Rochester, New York; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and in Cape Fear, North Carolina; and Florence, South Carolina.
Innovations and Overseas Expansion
Medical breakthroughs continued … innovations in valve repair … the first successful larynx transplant … the first minimally invasive aortic valve surgery … innovative urological surgeries … deep-brain stimulation for psychiatric diseases ...
Strong international demand for Cleveland Clinic services has led to expansion overseas… Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a full-service hospital and clinic… management of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Khalifa Medical City...
Cleveland Clinic innovates for patient experience. CEO and President Delos Cosgrove, MD, has led the creation of patient-focused institutes.
Each institute treats a single disease or organ system under a single roof. Physicians and surgeons collaborate.
Integrated Healthcare Delivery
Today, Cleveland Clinic is an integrated healthcare delivery system, linked by electronic medical records and critical care transport. Wellness and patient experience have become priorities.
President Barack Obama described Cleveland Clinic as "a system where patient care is the No. 1 concern."
Cleveland Clinic's model of medicine has survived and prospered through the years. It will continue to serve patients for generations to come.
Did You Know?
Before Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921, many of today's Cleveland Clinic Community Hospitals were already well-established:
- 1874 – Cleveland Homeopathic Hospital (Huron Hospital)
- 1892 – Society for Christian Care of the Sick and Needy (Fairview Hospital)
- 1895 – Children's Fresh Air Camp (Cleveland Clinic's Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation)
- 1896 – Lutheran Hospital
- 1907 – Glenville Hospital (Euclid Hospital)
- 1907 – Lakewood Hospital