user bar first menu

History of Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital
Celebrating 100 years of healing ~ 1911 - 2011


Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital (LAOH) was founded in 1911 by Charles LeRoy Lowman, as a clinic for children with crippling disorders. The mission then is the same as the mission today; to provide excellence in orthopaedic care regardless of the family's ability to pay. To support this mission, the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation was established in 1917 and it has been an integral support to the care that Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital provides today.

The first Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital building was constructed in 1922 on our current downtown property on Flower Street. It was replaced in 1959 by a second hospital, and today a third hospital nears completion on the Westside of Los Angeles. This new state-of-the-art facility is a cooperative effort with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as part of a Master Strategic Alliance to create the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital. The site of the first hospital continues as a large outpatient medical center where most of the children are seen. It also houses the Foundation offices and J. Vernon Luck, Sr., MD Research Center.

When Dr. Charles LeRoy Lowman established Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital, he scarcely could have imaged the astonishing strides that medicine would take through the end of the century.

As the only orthopaedic specialist between San Francisco to New Orleans, he saw patients with polio, birth defects such as flat feet, knock-knees, bowlegs and spinal curvatures, chronic bone infections, and trauma residuals. Because the field was so new, he invented many treatments himself including turning a fishpond on the LAOH grounds into a therapy pool for children with polio. This therapy pool was in use two years before polio sufferer Franklin Delano Roosevelt utilized the 88-degree waters at Warm Springs, Georgia to treat his polio paralysis. Orthopaedic Hospital has continued leadership in patient care, education and research throughout its history.

Today, the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital treats children with congenital and acquired orthopaedic disorders in addition to providing expert life-long care for hemophilia. Our surgeons straighten curved spines, correct clubfeet, reconstruct deformed or short limbs, replace torn ligaments, and repair complex fractures. Whenever possible, Orthopaedic Hospital physicians apply non-surgical techniques and less invasive procedures with the goal of reducing a child's discomfort or time to recovery. Our physicians also coordinate a multidisciplinary approach to complex neuromuscular conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida as well as rare skeletal diseases such as osteogenesis imperfecta and achondroplasia.

The Hemophilia Treatment Center is world renown for treating patients with severe arthritis secondary to joint hemorrhages. This center receives patients from around the world for joint replacement and reconstruction.

The J. Vernon Luck Research Laboratories have developed materials that allow joint replacement for all patients to last 10 times longer than conventional materials. These materials are now FDA approved and used world wide.

Care for patients with musculoskeletal patients world wide is also advanced through medical education. The Orthopaedic UCLA residency in Orthopaedic Surgery receives the brightest applicants from the best universities.

During our 100-year history, the orthopaedic program has grown tremendously and now sees more children with potentially crippling disorders than any other facility in the United States.

Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital has embarked on an extraordinary commitment to advance the quality of orthopaedic healthcare in the 21st century. We have entered into a strategic alliance with UCLA Health System to provide excellence in pediatric orthopaedic care throughout greater Los Angeles and advance musculoskeletal research and education worldwide. A strategic alliance with Los Angeles Unified School District established the Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School. Our physicians, researchers and staff provide assistance in curriculum design and teaching related to health science and exposure to a wide variety of careers in healthcare and research.

The new Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Medical Center on our downtown campus and the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center on the UCLA Westwood campus combined have the capacity to lead advancements in musculoskeletal patient care, research, and education world-wide.

The Future
A New Era in Orthopaedic Care

With greater than 50,000 outpatient visits annually, Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital (LAOH) treats more children with potentially crippling disorders than any other orthopaedic facility in the nation.

To meet the ever-growing orthopaedic needs of the community, Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital has expanded its commitment to patient care, research and education.

The Los Angeles Orthopaedic Medical Center Downtown Campus will continue to provide over 60 specialized orthopaedic clinics monthly at the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Outpatient Medical Center and provide much needed trauma care at the Urgent Care Center, open 7 days a week. On the Westside of Los Angeles in the City of Santa Monica, LAOH operates the Renee and Meyer Luskin Clinic - the only provider of comprehensive pediatric orthopaedic care in that entire service area with over 4,000 visits in 2010 and growing.

Opening in the Fall of 2011 is the Santa Monica - UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital. Established through a strategic alliance between LAOH and UCLA, this 265 bed state-of-the-art hospital will be the home for LAOH's inpatient and outpatient surgeries, along with the UCLA-Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

We have expanded and moved into the next generation of orthopaedic research, combining LAOH's bio-mechanics research center with the biologics and genetics research at the newly constructed Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center on the UCLA Westwood campus.

Further transforming our historical outreach and care for the future of the inner-city, LAOH has also embarked on an exciting and pioneering association Los Angeles Unified School District with the establishment Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School. The high school, located adjacent to the Medical Center's downtown Los Angeles campus, is a magnet for those students interested in education for careers in health care.

LAOH's passion for education is unwavering - not only for high school students but for physicians choosing to specialize in orthopaedic care. Through its leadership of the Orthopaedic Hospital-UCLA Orthopaedic Residency and through its sponsorship of the LAOH Fellowship Program in pediatric orthopaedics, LAOH helping to guarantee a future generation of outstanding physicians caring for children with crippling disorders.

The Gift of Motion