Torrance Memorial hospital receives $32-million donation
Philanthropists Melanie and Richard Lundquist have donated $32 million to Torrance Memorial Medical Center to improve neurological, orthopedic and spinal care at the hospital.
The gift announced this week brings the couple’s total contributions to the hospital to $100 million over the last 11 years. The sum is the most a single donor has given to a hospital that isn’t a research or teaching facility since the Chronicle of Philanthropy began tracking donations over $1 million in 2005.
Melanie Lundquist said that without a teaching hospital, residents of the South Bay don’t always have access to the most advanced medical care. They have to leave the region for certain procedures, which can be inconvenient or even dangerous.
“It dawned on me about 20 years ago that if I had a heart attack at 4 p.m. in the afternoon I was DOA if I had to go to Cedars,” said Lundquist, who lives in Palos Verdes Estates. “Top-notch care should not depend on your ZIP Code.”
In 2013, the Lundquists donated $50 million for the creation of a patient building at the hospital with all private rooms, now called the Lundquist Tower. The couple had previously donated $18 million for other hospital upgrades, including the Lundquist Cardiovascular Institute, they said.
The $32-million gift will go toward the creation of an orthopedic and spine institute as well as a neuroscience institute. Patients will no longer need to be referred out of the South Bay for neurological care, Torrance Memorial Chief Executive Craig Leach said.
The hospital will also use the money to provide better stroke care. Leach estimated that about 2,000 patients a year in the South Bay will require advanced stroke care.
“That’s not something you want to get on the 405 Freeway and make your way to Cedars or UCLA for,” he said.
Some of the funding will also go toward improving the care delivered to surgical and intensive care unit patients, he said.
The $32-million donation is the second-largest gift this year to a healthcare provider or organization, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. It’s among the 60 biggest gifts in the healthcare sector since 2005.
“I call them heroes,” Leach said of the Lundquists. “We really are indebted to them.”
Most donations to healthcare organizations go to research institutes, such as those trying to cure cancer, or to hospitals testing out the latest technologies or therapies to treat rare medical conditions. But Melanie Lundquist, who volunteered at the hospital’s front desk for more than a decade, said she saw firsthand the vital services Torrance Memorial provides.
“The medical needs in the community are no different than the medical needs of the community that does live near a teaching and training hospital,” she said.
L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents the South Bay, said the Lundquists’ donation helps ensure healthcare is accessible for the community.
“By focusing resources on improving a key community hospital, the Lundquists are helping to strengthen the safety net for health care in our entire region,” she said in a statement.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.