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Hospital Seeks Historical Items for Exhibit

There is more to the history of the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center than a couple of nurse caps, a set of surgical instruments and an old syringe kit.

But so far, these are about the only items hospital workers have turned up in their effort to document the institution’s 89-year history. Now they want to broaden the search by reaching out to former patients and employees.

Specifically, workers are asking for old medical bills, uniforms and photos to put on display to mark the hospital’s 90th anniversary next year, hospital marketing manager Steve Brand said.

The goal, he said, is to show how 11 beds in a downtown Victorian mansion evolved into the third-largest private hospital on the West Coast--and how the community helped.

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“As the city of Long Beach has grown, so has Long Beach Memorial,” Brand said.

Perhaps the earliest reminder of the hospital’s beginnings is a surgical pump believed to date to 1902, Brand said.

But except for a few old photos, little remains of the original downtown facility, dubbed Seaside Hospital. It eventually became part of Memorial Health Services and relocated farther north along Atlantic Avenue in 1960.

The decision to retrieve artifacts began in August, and workers started receiving donated items in October.

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