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Dignity Health - St. Mary's Medical Center

HQ: San Francisco, CA   |  
Continuing Our Mission of Service since 1857

The history of St. Mary's Medical Center, the oldest continuously operating hospital in the city, is an inspiring testimony to the tireless efforts of the Sisters of Mercy, outstanding physicians and the many other dedicated individuals who have committed their talents and resources to serving the community of San Francisco, including the poor and marginalized .

The story actually begins in 1831, when Irish heiress Catherine McAuley used her fortune to establish the Sisters of Mercy at the Convent of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland. A teaching-nursing-social services congregation that has become the second largest order of religious women in the world, the Sisters of Mercy sponsor and co-sponsor many organizations and ministries, including St. Mary's Medical Center. Six Sisters from the order's Burlingame Region -- which covers California, Phoenix, Arizona and Peru -- continue to serve vital roles at St. Mary's today.

In 1854, Rev. Hugh Gallagher, at the request of San Francisco's first Archbishop Joseph Alemany, solicited the Sisters for service in San Francisco. Almost all of the 29 Sisters volunteered. Eight Sisters were chosen to make the journey, headed by 25-year-old Sister Mary Baptist Russell (nee Katherine Russell), who had joined the order at the age of 19 and nursed victims through Ireland's horrible cholera epidemic of 1849 -- an experience that later would prove valuable in San Francisco.

The Sisters faced a harrowing, three-month journey. Mother Russell booked passage on the Arctic, scheduled to leave Dublin on September 13. In a twist of fate, the ship was overbooked, so the Sisters sailed from Liverpool on the Canada a few days later. The Arctic collided with another vessel in a dense fog, and everyone on board died. After crossing the Atlantic, the Sisters faced an exhausting crossing of the Isthmus of Nicaragua by river boat and mule train before boarding the Pacific steamer, Cortes, for the last leg of their journey, sharing the voyage with a motley crowd of gold prospectors. The valiant Irish nuns disembarked to a chilly gray dawn in San Francisco on Friday, December 8, 1854.

After a few weeks of sharing accommodations with the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy rented a six-room cottage on Vallejo Street, across from the only hospital in the city of 35,000, the State Marine Hospital. Within months, the Sisters were called to aid a city in crisis when the S.S. Uncle Sam arrived September 5, 1855, carrying the deadly Asiatic cholera that ravaged the city for six weeks.

In the interval, the California Legislature had withdrawn its responsibility for the indigent sick, ruling that each county must care for its own. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors petitioned the Sisters to organize and operate the first County Hospital, using their own borrowed funds to purchase the old Stockton Street Hospital.

By 1857, it was evident the Board of Supervisors would not honor their obligations to reimburse the Sister for their expenses in caring for the indigent. The Sisters reluctantly had to terminate the Mercy management of the County Hospital. On July 19, the County patients were moved, and on July 27, the Sisters opened the Stockton Street building as St. Mary's Hospital, the first Catholic Hospital in San Francisco -- beginning a new chapter in their ongoing story of providing health care and community services to the city of San Francisco.
Our dedicated teams enjoy exceptional camaraderie as we work together to make healthcare in our city more affordable and accessible, while continuing to enhance the quality of our services. Many say that St. Mary's feel like a home away from home, and enjoy our comfortable working environment. Because our reputation reflects our personalized attention and care, we depend on each member of our team to uphold our tradition of service. This means your voice will be heard and respected, and your contribution will be valued. In addition to providing day-to-day recognition, we host a wonderful dinner each year to honor employees with long years of service-an event that highlights our deep esteem for the employees that make our hospital a great place to receive care.
Our highly competitive salaries and generous benefits packages help you manage your health and achieve a fulfilling work-life balance. You’ll enjoy fully paid insurance for you and your family—not to mention continuing education, in-house training resources, career tracks, and retirement plans that are recognized as among the industry’s best. For select positions, we also provide sign-on bonuses and various shifts and schedules.
  • Full Paid Medical for you and dependents
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision-Life Insurance
  • AD & D-Long term Disability
  • Flex Spending Accounts
  • Tax Sheltered Annuity (403B)-Tuition Reimbursement
  • Vacation/Sick Time/Holidays-Education Leave
Career Opportunities
St. Mary's Foundation Honors Auxiliary and Physician

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 5, 2006) - The St. Mary's Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors recently honored the members of the hospital's Auxiliary and Garnet F. Wynne Jr., MD at its annual fund-raising dinner.

"Our annual event celebrates the lives and accomplishments of the honorees," said event co-chair Doug Dillard. "Yet, it also provides an opportunity to continue the work we do by raising money for the hospital?s numerous services. It's a wonderful event for everyone involved."

This year's dinner, appropriately titled, "BeDazzled!" because a 1.25 carat diamond was raffled off, raised more than $189,000 for the hospital.

Honoring the Auxiliary

The Foundation honored the contributions of the members of St. Mary's Auxiliary, which has raised more than $2 million for the hospital since it was founded in 1925. There are now more than 160 members who work tirelessly to raise money for programs and services at St. Mary's.

"The doctors, staff and patients at St. Mary's benefit from the Auxiliary members' dedication," said Brother George Cherrie, who presented the award to Auxiliary president, Shirley Terry. "The tireless efforts of this group helps St. Mary's provide quality health care with the human touch."

Last year alone the Auxiliary raised $76,000 from events such as the Christmas Boutique, a monthly raffle and a Fall fashion show. St. Mary's used these funds to purchase needed equipment and support programs such as Cardiac Care, the Sister Mary Philippa Clinic, the Lifeline Program and Acute Rehab. In addition to raising funds for the hospital, the Auxiliary members work in the hospital gift shop and host luncheons and educational sessions.

Honoring Dr. Wynne, Jr.

The Foundation also honored Dr. Wynne, a prominent orthopedic surgeon and one of the founders of the San Francisco Orthopedic Residency Program (SFORP) at St. Mary's. He retired in December 2005.

"Dr. Wynne has left an indelible mark on the field of orthopedics through his mentoring and teaching of the next generation of surgeons," said Dr. Michael Singelyn, who presented him with the award along with his daughter, Paula Wynne Nielsen, and Dr. Stanley Yarnell. "He has also been a tireless advocate for St. Mary's. For these reasons we honor a man who will be truly missed in the day-to-day activities of this hospital."

Dr. Wynne served as assistant director of the SFORP from 1965-1981, at which time he became director, a position he held until his retirement. He also raised more than $1 million to help fund books, computers and conference fees for SFORP residents. For his teaching efforts, the SFORP residents awarded him Teacher of the Year in 1978, 1979, 1989 and 2000.

During his tenure at St. Mary's, he served as chief of staff, chief of orthopedics, and as a member of the hospital's board of directors. He was also an orthopedic consultant to the University of San Francisco, the San Francisco 49ers, the Golden State Warriors, six local high schools and the U.S. Army at Letterman and Fort Ord.

Dr. Wynne attended the University of Washington for medical school and then joined the army. He spent nearly six years at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, where he completed his internship and residency training.
Our Mission, Vision & Values
Our Mission

Dignity Health
and our Sponsoring Congregations are committed to furthering the healing ministry of Jesus. We dedicate our resources to:
  • Delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health services;
  • Serving and advocating for our sisters and brothers who are poor and disenfranchised; and
  • Partnering with others in the community to improve the quality of life.

Our Vision

A growing and diversified health care ministry distinguished by excellent quality and committed to expanding access to those in need.

Our Values

Dignity Health
is committed to providing high-quality, affordable health care to the communities we serve. Above all else we value:
  • Dignity - Respecting the inherent value and worth of each person.
  • Collaboration - Working together with people who support common values and vision to achieve shared goals.
  • Justice - Advocating for social change and acting in ways that promote respect for all persons and demonstrate compassion for our sisters and brothers who are powerless.
  • Stewardship - Cultivating the resources entrusted to us to promote healing and wholeness.
  • Excellence - Exceeding expectations through teamwork and innovation.
Medical Services

Getting timely access to a skilled and experienced health care team is key for cardiac care. St. Mary's meets a standard of excellence in cardiac treatment that has been recognized by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). Heart attack patients receive angioplasty within 90 minutes of their arrival at the hospital, which, according to the ACC and AHA, gives them the best possible chance of survival. St. Mary's staff also offers a wealth of experience - our cardiology team has performed thousands of open-heart surgeries. Cardiac catherization have been performed at St. Mary's since 1972, and cardiologists perform thousands of diagnostic and interventional procedures each year.

St. Mary's new, fully digital cath lab is equipped with the most advanced diagnostic imaging equipment available, providing your physician with high quality images to use direct your care and treatment. True to our mission of delivering compassionate, quality care, you will be treated with respect and care by our highly skilled, friendly staff.

To ensure the highest standards of patient care, the Cardiology Services staff works in concert with other professionals at St. Mary's to coordinate all aspect of care including: medicine, surgery, nursing, respiratory therapy, dietary, occupational and physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation and social services assistance.

Emergency Services and QuickCare

When you or a loved one has a medical emergency - from accidental poisoning to a broken bone - nothing eases your mind like knowing reliable care is nearby.

St. Mary's staff provides quality care for critical and noncritical illness and injury around-the-clock. Our highly trained team of doctors and nurses is always ready to give you and your family care when you need it most.

What's more, we are the only full-service emergency department in San Francisco with QuickCare, an innovative program that guarantees short wait times.


Whether you are seeking relief from joint problems, a sports injury, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other musculoskeletal conditions, our staff will map a plan to help you start feeling better as soon as possible.

You will receive care from a team of qualified, experienced specialists - top surgeons who are board-certified and fellowship-trained, as well as physicians who are board-certified in specialties including, orthopedics, internal medicine, pain management, psychiatry and physiatry.

Orthopedic services at St. Mary's are provided through four dedicated centers:
  • Spine Center
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Joint Replacement
  • Center for Outpatient Physical Therapy

The surgeons at our Spine Center have revolutionized treatment. An innovative spinal implant has helped many patients resume normal activities. A replacement disc, now in clinical trials, offers an alternative to spinal fusion surgery with quicker recovery. Learn more about the Pro-Disc, X-Stop and Flexi-Core innovations of the St. Mary's Spine Center surgeons including Dr. Ken Hsu, Dr. James Zucherman and Dr. Matthew Hannibal.

Whatever treatment you need, St. Mary's takes time to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan at the outset, and we have a record of success to show for it. Follow-up studies of our joint-replacement surgeries, for example, show a 98 percent success rate after 15 years.

The orthopedic services team also includes registered nurse coordinators and physical and occupational therapists. This interdisciplinary team approach ensures that patients receive comprehensive, individualized care leading to optimal outcomes.


St. Mary's offers an array of precision technologies that can help your doctor get a clear picture of your health and make treatment decisions.

Our advanced imaging tests support the entire spectrum of primary and specialty care services and include:
  • Angiography
  • Computer-assisted Detection (CAD)
  • Computerized Tomography (CT)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Mammography
  • Myelography
  • Spinal Blocks and Discography
  • Ultrasound

St. Mary's newly upgraded, high-field MRI system provides high-resolution imaging quality to conduct advanced stroke imaging, improved breast imaging, contrast-enhanced angiography, plus advanced abdominal and gynecologic imaging (including uterine fibroid evaluation).

We offer the latest, low-radiation mammography units as well as steriotactic needle biopsy, an important new breast-imaging test. In 2003, we added CAD for mammography and improved ultrasound capabilities with two state-of-the-art units.

In 2004, St. Mary's will complete renovations to two basic radiology rooms and upgrade equipment to digital technology.

Surgical Services

If your doctor recommends surgery, St. Mary's provides expert care and will help make your experience as pleasant as possible. Our surgical staff provides outstanding treatment by staying abreast of the latest techniques and developments. St. Mary's was the first U.S. hospital to perform balloon angioplasty, for example, and was a pioneer in the X-STOP procedure, an alternative to spinal surgery that can be done on an outpatient basis.

We offer two surgical services:
  • Same-day surgery allows you to have your procedure and return home the same day to recover in the comfort of familiar surroundings. (Patients must be accompanied home by an adult.)
  • A.M. admissions service allows you to arrive at the hospital the morning of your surgery and stay for one or more nights, as your doctor recommends.

Once you're scheduled for surgery, you may visit our pre-surgical admissions office either by appointment or on a drop-in basis. Our staff will conduct any preoperative lab testing, go over pre-op instructions with you, and answer any questions you may have.

Throughout the procedure and thereafter, we will take steps to make you as comfortable as possible. After surgery, you will receive a recovery plan, including instructions for rest, activity, medications, and diet.
St. Mary's Medical Center
450 Stanyan St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 668-1000
Diversity at Dignity Health is about more than celebrating differences. We believe workplace diversity introduces new ideas and unique viewpoints that we all can learn from. We proactively seek out staff who will enrich our culture and make our teams stronger through their varied backgrounds, skills and perspectives.