Scripps Encinitas turns 50 in April – and still growing

Scripps Encinitas turns 50 in April – and still growing
Pictured from left: Scripps Encinitas founders Dr. Charles Clark, Herman “Pop” Weignad, Dr. Ronald Summers and Dr. Dwight Cook (1988 at opening of west wing addition).  Photo courtesy Scripps Health.

Fifty years ago this month, the doors opened to Encinitas’ first hospital. And what began as a small facility providing long-term convalescent care has grown into a busy, full-service medical facility that cares for more than 80,000 patients a year in North County.


Soon, the hospital will start a new chapter to meet the changing needs of North County. The new Critical Care Building at Scripps Encinitas is expected to open for patient care in summer 2014. The 61,643-square-foot, two-story building will house a 27-bed emergency department on the first floor, which will more than double the size of its current ER. It will also triple the number of ambulance bays, from two to six. The second floor will include 36 medical-surgical beds for patients recovering from surgery or acute illnesses.

That’s just one example of the work Scripps is doing to provide exceptional care, close to home. Scripps is honored to be part of the health care framework serving North County.

Scripps Encinitas has grown from humble roots. In 1960, Dwight Cook, M.D., and the late Charles Clark, M.D., bought property on Santa Fe Drive and Devonshire Road to build a small medical-dental building for their practice. They soon realized the community needed to expand its health care infrastructure, so they turned to patient and friend Herman “Pop” Wiegand, who put up his Bank of America stock as collateral for a loan to build a hospital on the same property.

In spring 1964, the doors opened to Encinitas Convalescent Hospital, which was licensed to provide long-term care for patients recovering from illness or surgery. Later that year, the hospital’s third founding physician, Ronald Summers, M.D., joined the practice of Drs. Cook and Clark. They obtained a medical specialty license and converted some of the long-term care beds to acute care beds, enabling them to start taking care of medical illnesses. By 1966, the hospital was upgraded to a specialized hospital for internal medicine and was renamed Encinitas Hospital.

In 1967, the founding doctors bought an adjoining parcel of land to the north for future development. Eight years later, they entered into a partnership on a major hospital expansion, which added full medical-surgical capabilities, an intensive care unit, a comprehensive emergency department and raised its capacity to 94 beds. The newly named San Dieguito Hospital opened in 1975.

As the business of health care changed, the founding physicians realized they needed more support to sustain and grow the hospital. They approached Scripps Health about purchasing the facility, based on their familiarity with Scripps’ high standards of care and community service. The sale to Scripps was completed in 1978, and the facility was renamed Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas.

In addition to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, Scripps offers multiple patient care locations throughout North County, including Scripps Clinic and Scripps Coastal Medical Center locations in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Solana Beach and Encinitas.

To date, Scripps has raised $39 million of the $58 million in philanthropy needed to complete the current Encinitas expansion, which will also include a specialized ER observation unit, diagnostic equipment and additional operating rooms in the main hospital. To learn about opportunities to support Scripps Encinitas, call (760) 633-7722.

“Health Watch” is brought to you by the physicians and staff of Scripps Health. For more information or for a physician referral, call 1-800-SCRIPPS or visit  HYPERLINK “”



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