UCLA Medical Center

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (also commonly referred to as UCLA Medical Center) is a hospital located on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California.

UCLA Medical Center has research centers covering nearly all major specialties of medicine as well as dentistry and ophthalmology, and is the primary teaching hospital for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The hospital's emergency department is certified as a level I trauma center for adults and pediatrics. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is a constituent part of the UCLA Health System, a comprehensive consortium of research hospitals and medical institutes affiliated with UCLA, including:

  • Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
  • Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital
  • Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA
  • Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA
  • UCLA Medical Group, with its wide-reaching system of primary-care and specialty-care offices throughout the greater Los Angeles region.

Collectively, the hospitals and specialty-care facilities of the UCLA Health System make it among the most comprehensive and advanced healthcare systems in the world. It is rated as one of the top five hospitals in the United States and is the top hospital on the West Coast according to US News & World Report. The hospital has been ranked in the top twenty in 15 of the 16 medical specialties ranked by the US News ranking. Ten of those specialties were ranked in the top ten. In 2005, the American Nurses Credentialing Center granted the medical center "Magnet" status.


On June 29, 2008, the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center opened and became fully operational, replacing the older facilities across the street. The older hospital complex had suffered moderate interior structural damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Because several hospitals were severely damaged during the Northridge quake and injured people had to be transported long distances for emergency care, the state of California passed SB1953, an amendment to an older law requiring all hospitals to move their acute care and intensive care units into earthquake-safe buildings by 2008.

Originally budgeted at $598 million in 1998, construction began in 1999 and was completed in 2004. Cost overruns and construction delays attributed to rising construction costs and design changes due to medical advances resulted in the price of the building increasing to $829 million. Equipment purchased for the new building increased the total cost to over $1 billion. The Federal Emergency Management Agency contributed $432 million in earthquake relief funds to the project, and the state of California contributed $44 million. Private donations raised over $300 million for the project, including $150 million in President Reagan's name.The new building was constructed to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake, one of the first buildings in California built to the most recent seismic standards.

The new 1,050,000-square-foot (98,000 m2) hospital is named after the late President of the United States and Governor of California Ronald Reagan. It was designed by C.C. "Didi" Pei of Pei Partnership Architects in collaboration with his father, renowned Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei, and has been claimed to be the most technologically advanced hospital in the world. The hospital will contain fewer patient beds (525) than the one it replaces. Patient beds in the intensive-care units will be accessible to nurses and doctors from 360 degrees, and surgical floor plans will be modular, allowing them to be expanded and reconfigured as medical technology evolves. The hospital is sheathed with mechanically honed, cream colored, horizontally grained travertine marble panels sold at below-market-rate cost by Primo Marrioti, the owner of an Italian quarry whose cancer was cured at UCLA. The travertine elements were fastened to a sophisticated interlocking panelized aluminum cladding system developed by Benson Industries of Portland,Oregon. The building envelope is designed to resist and survive severe seismic events and maintain excellent resistance to air and water infiltration.

The older center itself is a sprawling 11-story brick building designed by Welton Becket. It is considered a landmark of early modern architecture. The center was built in several phases, the first of which was completed in 1953. The hospital has a "tic-tac-toe" layout of intersecting wings, creating a series of courtyards throughout the complex. The first floor is unusual in that most of its walls are completely clad in a thick layer of naturally-weathered, unfilled, travertine, creating an unusual "organic" appearance. The exterior architecture is very simple (as with many Becket designs), consisting of a red brick wall with horizontal bands of stainless-steel louvers over the windows to keep direct sunlight from heating the building.

Some of the old complex will be torn down, and some of it will be renovated and turned into office space when it is no longer an operational hospital. The law does not require that all parts of a hospital be made earthquake-safe, only the most important parts. Much of the extensive travertine wall cladding from the building's interior will most likely be salvaged and re-used.

Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA

The Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA is located on the west wing of the newly constructed Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center "to provide treatment for children in a compassionate atmosphere, and, as a teaching hospital, to conduct research that improves the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases," as stated in its mission statement.

It was founded in 1950 as the UCLA Department of Pediatrics and was located in the Marion Davies wing of the old UCLA Medical Center starting in 1962 until moving into the new hospital in 2008. The hospital became a member of the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. The name of "Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA" was given to the hospital to honor the donations from Mattel, Inc.

Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA

The Stewart & Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA is a 74 bed acute care psychiatric hospital located within the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Following a donation, the hospital was named for Lynda Resnick and her husband.

Nobel Prize in Medicine

UCLA faculty member and pharmacologist Louis Ignarro's discovery of one of the most important signaling molecules in the human body, nitric oxide, led to the Nobel Prize in medicine. This discovery revolutionized the fields of cardiopulmonary medicine and immunology.

Notable Hospitalizations

UCLA Medical Center terminated the employment of several employees and disciplined others for viewing the confidential medical records of Britney Spears, who was hospitalized in its psychiatric ward. Several more workers were fired for the same offense after Spears gave birth to her first son, Sean Preston Federline. On April 7, 2008, it was revealed that medical records of several high profile patients, including First Lady of California Maria Shriver and actress Farrah Fawcett, were breached by a hospital worker.

The wife of the hospital's namesake, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, was hospitalized on October 15, 2008 after falling at her home. It was determined that the 87 year old had fractured her pelvis.

John Wayne died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979. Wayne Allwine, the most recent voice of Mickey Mouse died at UCLA Medical Center on May 18, 2009 from complications of diabetes.

On Saturday February 12,2011 Betty Garrett died at the age of 91 of a aortic aneurysm at UCLA Medical Center in the early morning hours.

On June 23, 2009, Ed McMahon died at UCLA Medical Center. Two days later, on June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson was taken to UCLA Medical Center after suffering cardiac arrest and died soon after. Thousands of Jackson's fans gathered outside the building for the remainder of the day.

On the night of June 4, 2010, UCLA's revered basketball coach John Wooden died at UCLA Medical Center.

Mo cell line controversy

UCLA Medical Center is well-known as the defendant in a famous Supreme Court of California case, Moore v. Regents of the University of California, 51 Cal. 3d 120 (1990). The court decided that patient John Moore had no property rights in the immensely profitable "Mo" cell line which UCLA researchers had discovered when they removed his cancerous spleen.

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