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Mayo Clinic timeline

1863 — Dr. William Worrall Mayo moves to Rochester as the physician examining new recruits for the Union Army.

1864 — Dr. William Worrall Mayo first advertises his medical practice, which clinic historians consider the official origin of modern-day Mayo Clinic.

1883 — A devastating tornado strikes the Rochester region July 21 . The cyclone, estimated by witnesses at one-and-a-half miles wide, injures so many area residents that the Mayos ask Franciscan sisters to help as nurses, even though they're not trained for the job. Mother Alfred Moes, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis, shortly thereafter proposes building a hospital to be staffed by Dr. W.W. Mayo. The sisters' oral and written history suggests he wasn't eager but agreed — if the sisters could raise the money to build Saint Marys Hospital. They succeed.

1883 and 1888 — Dr. Mayo's two sons, William J. and Charles H. , join him in practice after they finish medical school.

1889 — The Franciscan sisters open Saint Marys Hospital with 27 beds. On Sept. 30, Dr. Charlie, assisted by Dr. Will and their father, performs the first surgery at Saint Marys, removing a cancerous tumor of the eye.


1892 — First partner is added to Mayo family practice. More physicians are invited to join, beginning the concept of team medical care. The team approach naturally leads to specialties, in different fields, working together. This leads to what Mayo today credits as the first integrated, multi-specialty medical practice.

1901 — Dr. Henry Plummer joins the Mayo practice from a nearby small town. He becomes instrumental in designing systems to fulfill the Mayo's group-practice concept , including a centralized medical record, lifts and conveyors for moving the records and X-rays, a patient-registration system and one of the world's first telephone paging systems. The resulting systems have been refined for decades but are still in use today.

1907 — Patient registration number one given out. Five thousand patients register at "the Mayo's clinic" as it has come to be known.

1915 — Doctors come from all over the world to observe and learn. This leads to organization of one of the world's first formal graduate-training programs for physicians, the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.

1919 — The Mayo brothers, Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie , turn over all the assets of the Mayo Clinic to the nonprofit Mayo Properties Association, the forerunner of Mayo Foundation.

1938 — "The Men From Mars" (three Mayo Clinic researchers) complete a successful Northwest Airlines flight, with the crew wearing BLB, or Boothby-Lovelace-Bulbulian, oxygen masks to allow flight at higher altitudes. The flight crew did not experience hypoxia. Designers of the mask were Dr. Walter Boothby, Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace and Dr. Arthur H. Bulbulian. Lovelace was one of the successful flight crew. The mask would eventually replace "oxygen tents" on patients' beds.

1935 — Mayo Clinic Rochester opens nation's first hospital-based blood bank.

1939 — Dr. William J. and Dr. Charles H. Mayo die within a few months of each other. The clinic, however, continues to grow into an internationally known medical center.


1942 — Dr. Earl H. Wood joins a team that develops a pressurized flight suit, helping the Allies win World War II.

1950 — Drs. Edward C. Kendall and Philip S. Hench are awarded the Nobel Prize for isolation and first clinical use of cortisone . Mayo declines to patent their discovery or seek financial gain, instead allowing faster adoption and widespread use of the drug in the hopes it would benefit more patients.

1955 — Mayo Clinic surgeons complete first series of operations with heart-lung bypass machine .

1963 — Organ transplantation begins at Mayo.

1969 — Surgeons at Mayo Clinic complete first FDA-approved hip-joint replacement.

1972 — Mayo Medical School opens.

1973 — The first CT scanner ever used in the United States is installed at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the first scan is performed of a patient's head.

1986 — Mayo Clinic Rochester, Saint Mary's Hospital, Rochester Methodist Hospital integrate.


1986 — Mayo expands outside Minnesota for the first time with the opening of Mayo Clinic Jacksonville .

1987 — Mayo Clinic Scottsdale opens , St. Luke's Hospital, Jacksonville, becomes part of Mayo. Registration number 4 million given out.

1992 — Mayo begins to form regional network of clinics and hospitals. The Decorah (Iowa) Medical Associates is the first existing practice acquired by Mayo, for what is now known as Mayo Clinic Health System .

1995 — Website opens at mayo.edu. Today, Mayo has accounts on various social-media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and its websites are used by millions annually.

1996 — Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital opens as part of Saint Marys Hospital.

2001 — Scientists at Mayo Clinic develop first ability to rapidly diagnosis anthrax poisoning following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

2001 — The 20-story Gonda Building opens to patients.

2001 — Two-year-oldPaulie Hynek, after wandering away from his Wisconsin home and being found in a snowbank, is flown by a Mayo One medical helicopter to Eau Claire, Wis. and is saved from a body temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit by Mayo Clinic Health System health providers.

2002 — Mayo Clinic becomes first federally approved multi-center comprehensive cancer center .

2003 — Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota enter into a state-funded collaboration called the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics .

2005 — Mayo Clinic researchers confirm in a New England Journal of Medicine particle that that Herceptin plus chemotherapy dramatically decreases the risk of return of breast cancer in treated women whose cancers produce too much HER2 protein.

2006 — Massive surgical teams at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital separate three sets of conjoined twins in collaboration with medical illustrators who produce simulated organs and detailed anatomical sketches to allow surgeons to know the twins' anatomy long before surgery. For Abby and Isabelle Carlsen, 5,271 images are produced by radiologists and their teams. Their surgical team included 38 health providers, including 18 surgeons who used 3-D images to guide their successful procedure.

2010 — Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota launch the " Decade of Discovery " to "optimally treat and ultimately cure" both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes by 2020. Today, the Decade of Discovery is part of the Minnesota Partnership.

2010 — The Mayo Clinic Care Network is announced. Rather than the Mayo-owned Mayo Clinic Health System model, Care Network members are individual health systems nationwide who gain access to Mayo's research-based protocols, physician consults and other resources. Over time, it's likely patients from these sites will be referred to Mayo's destination medical centers in Rochester; Phoenix, Ariz. and Jacksonville, Fla.

2011 — "Stroke robots" are announced that will eventually bring Mayo Clinic telestroke service to remote areas from Missouri and Minnesota to Florida and Arizona, allowing neurologists to guide urgent care of patients who experience strokes far away from medical specialists.

2011 — A collaboration with commanders begins bringing U.S. military medical personnel to the Mayo Clinic Multidisciplinary Simulation Center for pre-deployment training in trauma scenarios.

2011 — Chris Norton, who experienced a spinal injury during a Luther College football game, stands for the first time after paralysis and months of rehabilitation at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester and the motivational speaker continues working today to gain strength .

2012 — The largest concrete pour in Rochester history occurs as construction workers work on Mayo Clinic's proton center at the Richard O. Jacobson Building .

2013 — Mayo Clinic regenerative-medicine specialists begin "first-in-human study" using patients' own cells to heal damaged hearts.

2013 — Mayo Clinic leaders convince the Minnesota Legislature to approve public funding to support Destination Medical Center plans. Combined, Mayo Clinic, private, city, county and state dollars are expected to total $6 billion of investment over the next 20 years in Rochester.

2013 — The Saint Marys campus at Mayo Clinic undergoes a complete reconstruction of its emergency department, addition of post-anesthesia units to serve a growing surgical practice and that leads to addition of floors to a $100 billion-dollar tower still climbing skyward today under construction cranes.

2013 — Mayo Clinic begins studying the growth of stem cells in space .

2014 — Saint Marys Hospital, Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital and Rochester Methodist Hospital become one facility called "Mayo Clinic Hospital."

2014 — Expansion to Mayo Clinic Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center adds elite athlete training center and a healthy-living program as medicine moves away from treating urgent illness and injury and toward prevention. The Sports Medicine Center and Healthy Living Program held a joint open house Saturday, May 3.

2014 — Mayo Clinic embarks on a sesquicentennial tour across the United States and Canada with an exhibit funded by benefactors who want more people to know the diverse activities Mayo health providers and researchers undertake.

2014 — A "Signature Event" is held at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester to celebrate Mayo Clinic's sesquicentennial, with Cirque du Soleil providing entertainment, as Mayo Clinic leaders are joined by the princess of Jordan and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway and the 8-year-old Carlsen twins. in an event that highlights for potential benefactors the history and future of Mayo.This kicks off the public phase of the $3 billion "Campaign for Mayo Clinic" intended to provide funding to replace federal research grants that are becoming less available.

Source: Mayo Clinic, Post-Bulletin archives

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