A New Chapter


The indigo light display at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center on the campus of Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas

A historic Ohio event that reverberated around the United States occurred in Cleveland on Feb. 5, 1921. Four prominent doctors officially founded Cleveland Clinic in a four-story building on 93rd Street. Their goals for the hospital were brief, specific and admirable: “better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve.”

Today, these goals are still in place in a worldwide medical system staffed by more than 52,000, visited by millions of patients and supported by an annual budget in the billions. There are satellite clinics in Fort Lauderdale, Naples and Vero Beach, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; London and Abu Dhabi.

Three of the four founders were native born Ohioans educated at Ohio medical schools: Dr. Frank E. Bunts, Dr. George Washington Crile, and Dr. William E. Lower. Dr. John Phillips, a Canadian, graduated from the University of Toronto. During World War I, Bunts, Crile and Lower had worked closely together in a medical unit in Rouen, France.

The origins of the clinic can be traced to the surgical practice of Dr. Frank Weed, whose office was located on the west side of Cleveland. Bunts and Crile were his assistants at the thriving medical practice. Tragically, in 1891, at the age of 45, Weed succumbed to pneumonia. The two young doctors bought his practice, consisting of some 50 items ranging from a small sorrel horse for $100 to bone forceps for $6 and a syringe for 50 cents. The entire lot cost $1,778. In today’s currency the amount would be approximately $45,000.

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