Biweekly Briefing Articles

The Value that Hospitals Bring to Our Lives

In her poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning poignantly captures the essence of hospitals in society:    

“How many desolate creatures on the earth  
Have learnt the simple dues of fellowship  
And social comfort, in a hospital” 

I share this line because it speaks volumes about the deeper value of hospitals beyond their medical functions. They are sanctuaries for physical healing, but you also play a role in fostering a society that values every individual, no matter their circumstance. As we observe National Hospital Week, let’s reflect on the role hospitals play in individual lives, our communities, and society.   

A hospital is a place where people go during the best and worst times of their lives, and where they find love, dignity, comfort, and respect from staff who are dedicated to helping others. The hospital exemplifies the best of humanity — compassion, dedication, and innovation. It’s a place where people of all backgrounds find solace and support. A community isn’t complete without a hospital.   

In San Diego and Imperial counties, more than two dozen hospitals and health systems are the backbone of our regional health care delivery system. Last year, there were nearly 300,000 patient visits to these institutions, and hospitals welcomed more than 39,000 new lives into the world.   

The impact of hospitals extends far beyond the immediate health care activities. Hospitals and health systems generate more than 150,000 jobs in San Diego and Imperial counties and contribute nearly $5 billion in local spending and sales taxes.   

These figures remind us that hospitals are fulfilling their mission of caring for Californians in every way. They are not just health care providers but major economic drivers and pillars of social stability.  

As we celebrate National Hospital Week, let’s acknowledge and support the indispensable role of hospitals. They are vital not only for our immediate health needs but also for the humanity and vitality of our communities. Together, we can ensure that our hospitals remain strong and capable with the spirit of care and compassion celebrated by Elizabeth Barrett Browning over a century ago.