About Desert Regional Medical Center
Desert Regional Medical Center: Cornerstone of the Community for Seven Decades
Desert Regional Medical Center has deep roots in the greater Palm Springs community. The 385-bed acute care hospital is proud of its long-standing tradition of offering advanced care and comprehensive services, including life-saving trauma care, comprehensive stroke services, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, cancer treatment, and neonatal intensive care services. Desert Regional Medical Center also has:
- Only Level II Trauma Center in Coachella Valley
- Only Level III NICU in Coachella Valley
- Only Comprehensive Stroke Center in Coachella Valley
- The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional
- Inpatient and outpatient surgery centers
- Acute Rehabilitation
Because it provides a higher level of care, Desert Regional takes some of the sickest and most critically-injured patients from other hospitals throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial and San Diego counties as well as parts of Arizona and Nevada.
Desert Regional is also a teaching facility, training the next generation of physicians. Some will remain in the community to help meet the increasing demand for healthcare services resulting from the area’s significant population growth. The hospital began residency programs in various specialties in 2014. The first class of family medicine residents graduated in June 2018.
From Glamorous Hotel to Wartime Hospital
Prior to being the Level II Trauma Center it is today, Desert Regional Medical Center was once the glamorous El Mirador Hotel. The 165-room luxury hotel opened on New Year's Eve in 1928, serving the likes of Hollywood stars and socialites of the 20's and 30's. Frequent visitors included Albert Einstein, Bing Crosby, and Shirley Temple, along with journalists and photographers. The El Mirador Hotel, which roughly translates to "The Watchtower," was known for its 68-foot bell tower. This iconic tower still stands on the hospital grounds today, albeit rebuilt from the original architectural blueprints after it burned down in 1989.
The hotel entered a new era in 1942 when the U.S. joined World War II. The Army bought El Mirador Hotel and subsequently converted it into the 1,600-bed Torney General Hospital, treating wounded soldiers from WWII conflicts around the globe.
Desert Hospital & Frank Sinatra: An Unexpected Benefactor
In 1948, the 38-bed Palm Springs Community Hospital would be built on the former El Mirador campus. In 1951, the facility was renamed Desert Hospital, as part of the publicly supported Desert Hospital District. Community philanthropist and famous musician Frank Sinatra was a key donor to the hospital for decades. In 1968, Sinatra announced a $500,000 donation to build what is now the hospital's Sinatra Education Center. At the time it was called the single-largest financial contribution to a hospital made by an individual donor.
Frank Sinatra and his wife, Barbara Sinatra, went on to host many fundraisers for the hospital. Most famously were his Valentine's Day Love-Ins, the first raising $2 million in one night, and his film premiere of Come Blow Your Horn where proceeds benefitted the hospital.
The Sinatra Education Center is still in use today for its original intended purpose, housing a 218-seat auditorium for lectures, multiple classrooms and conference rooms, and a medical library with a dedicated medical librarian to assist physicians and residents. The hospital's north tower wing is also named after Frank Sinatra.