University of California, Irvine Medical Center

The University of California, Irvine Medical Center (UCIMC or UCI Medical Center) is a major research hospital located in Orange, California. It is the teaching hospital for the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.[1]

University of California, Irvine Medical Center
UC Irvine Health Sciences
LocationBldg 1, 101 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868, Orange, California, United States
Care systemPrivate
Affiliated universityUniversity of California, Irvine
Emergency departmentLevel I trauma center
ListsHospitals in California
UC Irvine Medical Center


Plans had been in place since the founding of the school for a medical center, and space was set aside on campus.[2] This would model the hospital campuses at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Diego. The medical school wasn't originally planned to begin until the university had time to establish itself and stabilize sources of funding. Political divisions between the American Medical Association and Californian osteopaths brought the medical school to UCI early.[3]

The California College of Medicine was the oldest continuously operating medical college in the Southwest United States. Starting in 1896 as the Pacific College of Osteopathy, it was renamed the College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. Pressure by the AMA brought an end to its tenure in the osteopathic discipline, and the newly renamed California College of Medicine merged with the UC system in 1965, after efforts to keep it in LA or move to Long Beach broke down.[4]

Dean of Medicine Stanley van den Noort was adamant about opening a teaching hospital on campus, placing him in political opposition to Governor Jerry Brown. Brown managed to block the release of funds earmarked for the hospital's construction and then divert them toward the founding of UCSF's dental school. He then vetoed a compromise for UCI to take care of Orange County Medical Center's patients in exchange for a 200-bed hospital. Under pressure from Brown, the UC purchased the OCMC in 1976 from the county which no longer wished to maintain the aging and problematic facilities. This acquisition effectively halted the push for an on-campus hospital.[5] An attempt to establish a hospital through a private venture ended with the death of the entire planning committee in a plane crash. Those opposed successfully lobbied the state to build the Irvine Medical Center against the school's wishes, making a hospital at UCI impractical due to the proximity. The university has since greatly expanded the facility and services of the medical center.

Since then, the medical center has grown in size and reputation. It is building a new hospital, to be completed in early 2009, and is home to the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated center for cancer treatment and research. Other onsite buildings include the Neuropsychiatric Center, the UCI Health Sciences Laboratories building, and clinical outpatient pavilions on the medical center site, as well as community family health centers in Irvine, Santa Ana, Westminster, and Anaheim.

Just prior to UCI's acquisition in 1976, the medical center had about 2,100 employees. Today, UC Irvine Medical Center has more than 3,500 employees.

In 2000 the medical center began publishing the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. Since 2001, the U.S. News & World Report has listed UC Irvine Health programs in urology, gynecology, geriatrics, cancer, digestive disorders, nephrology, orthopedics, and ear, nose & throat among the top 50 nationwide. In 2016, two UC Irvine Health specialties were included among the top 50 nationally: 40th for orthopedics[6] and 41st for ear, nose, and throat.[7] It has the county's only Level I trauma center and its sole multiple-organ transplant center, and is the only hospital in the area offering a number of specialized surgeries. The medical center has been home to a number of firsts—including the first heart transplant in Orange County, the first implant on the West Coast of an insulin pump in a patient with diabetes, and a number of research breakthroughs involving therapy for cancer and other diseases.

The UC Irvine Medical Center was in the news in October of 2021 when former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized there with early-stage sepsis due to a non-COVID-related urinary tract infection; he was expected to fully recover, and his illness raised awareness of the center and of the serious condition.[8]


In 1995, three doctors at the UCI Center for Reproductive Health were accused of taking eggs from a woman without her consent and transferring them to another woman, who delivered a baby. Investigators later found that these doctors had stolen eggs from 100 women. Although the misuse of eggs was not illegal at the time, the doctors involved were indicted for mail fraud and tax evasion, and the two fled the country.[9]

In 2003, UCI hired Jagat Narula and Mani Vannan as the chief and division chief of cardiology. Neither was board certified in internal medicine nor cardiology, and neither had a California medical license.[10]

In 2003, Dr. Glenn Provost presented a 13-signature petition outlining anesthesia safety problems. He stated that soon after complaining about a supervisor forcing him "to take patients to the operating room without consent, chart, or preoperative check-in by the operating room nurse ... in an attempt to cut costs," he was fired and blackballed. Persons close to the case feel that there was a vendetta against Dr. Provost by Cynthia Anderson, the prior chair.[11]

In 2005, it came to light that 32 patients had died while waiting for liver transplants at UCI. Some livers were available, but, for two years, UCI did not have a full-time surgeon to implant them, in contravention of federal regulations. UCI's designated surgeon was actually on staff at UC San Diego, 70 miles away.[12] A patient at UCI, Elodie Irvine, filed a lawsuit. Ms. Irvine, who had liver and kidney disease, had 95 organs offered for transplant by the United Network for Organ Sharing during her stay at UCI. The hospital allegedly told the patient that they were waiting for organs, when in fact they rejected every organ offered to them. Only one UCI physician advised her to look elsewhere for a transplant.[13]

Over the years, there have been several cases of sexual harassment allegations against the employees of UC Irvine Medical Center. In June 1994, Christina Grudzinski, a second-year resident, accused her attending physician and her chief resident of sexual harassment. She later sued the university after the situation was unresolved and claimed the university faculty retaliated against her by firing her. She lost the court proceedings to the university in 2002 after the trial court and all of the higher courts on appeal ruled her lawsuit was "frivolous" and ordered her to pay $1.1 million back to the university in court fees.[14] Carlin Motley, a fundraiser for the hospital, filed a lawsuit in 2018 claiming she was not protected from a university volunteer who stalked and sexually harassed her for more than one year prior. The lawsuit remains ongoing.[15][16]


University of California, Irvine Medical Center is the only university hospital in Orange County with more than 400 specialty and primary care physicians. The medical center offers a full scope of acute- and general-care services including cancer care, digestive diseases, heart health neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, primary care, surgery, and women's health.[17] It is the only hospital in Orange County recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s annual listing of "America's Best Hospitals" and first to receive Magnet Designation for nursing excellence. The medical center has also been named one of the nation's top hospitals for quality and safety by the Leapfrog Group.[18]

Located in the City of Orange, 13 miles from the UCI campus, UC Irvine Medical Center has 411 licensed beds and is the principal clinical facility for the teaching and research programs of the UC Irvine School of Medicine. The seven-story UC Irvine Douglas Hospital was completed in late 2011. Additionally, there are 45 licensed beds in their Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, 19 high-tech operating rooms including two hybrid cardiac care operating rooms, and eight beds in the Burn Intensive Care Unit.<ref>{{Cite web|url =


  1. "UCI Medical Center Overview". U.S. News. Retrieved 28 Dec 2022.
  2. McCulloch. S: "Instant University", page 99. Academic Press,1993
  3. McCulloch. S: "Instant University", page 96. Academic Press,1993
  4. McCulloch. S: "Instant University", page 94. Academic Press,1993
  5. McCulloch. S: "Instant University", page 200. Academic Press,1993
  6. "Orthopedics Scorecard". Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  7. "Ear Nose and Throat Scorecard". Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  8. "What is sepsis? Here's everything to know about the infection former president Bill Clinton is battling".
  9. Marquis, Julie (1995-06-23). "UC Irvine Fires Clinic's Top Officials: Scandal: Medical center chief and assistant are terminated for allegedly trying to cover up fertility unit improprieties and retaliate against whistle-blowers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  10. Heisel, William (2005-12-22). "UCI cardiology heads uncertified". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2006-05-06.
  11. Fisher, Marla Jo (2006-02-03). "M.D. says UCI fired him for speaking up". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2006-05-06.
  12. Berthelsen, Christian (2006-04-09). "FBI Investigating UCI Liver Transplant Center". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2006-05-06.
  13. "Hospital turned down organs despite need". NBC News. 2005-11-10. Retrieved 2006-05-06.
  14. "Court Case: Grudzinski v. the University of California Irvine Medical Center, et al".
  15. "Woman Files Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against UC Irvine". 3 December 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  16. "UC Irvine employee sues Board of Regents and a volunteer, claiming sexual harassment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  17. "Medical Services | UC Irvine Health | Orange County, CA". Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  18. "The Leapfrog Group recognizes UC Irvine Health for an outstanding record in patient safety | UC Irvine Health | Orange County, CA". Retrieved 2016-01-02.

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