1835 Franklin Street, Denver, CO 80218      303-837-7111
Saint Joseph Hospital
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About Saint Joseph Hospital

Our Story

It's amazing to see how Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital (ESJH) has evolved throughout the years. Beginning with its opening in 1873 in a small house with eight beds, no electricity (a lantern was used to check on patients during the night) with a multi-room kitchen that was used for everything, to the next decade in the 1890 and 1900s with 150 beds in a hospital with twin towers, electricity, medical charts for the patient and dedicated surgery rooms, to the present with 577 licensed beds and state-of-the-art technology. Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital has always been on the forefront of modern medicine.

The hospital has evolved from its first primitive operation in 1893 with no antibiotics (although the surgeons did scrub) to the first baby being born at the hospital in 1894, to the introduction of prevention and treatment of disease. It has moved from horse drawn buggies as ambulances to gasoline powered engines.  It now provides pure drinking water for patients, sterile gloves and face masks for physicians and nurses, and of course modern x-rays and the latest in artificial hearts, lungs and joints.

Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital has witnessed the end of dreaded diseases including typhoid, small pox, tuberculosis, childbirth complications and is now on the forefront of critical and cardiac care, perinatology, oncology, orthopedics, diagnostic imaging and tertiary care. A small sampling of highlights of where we excel includes the following:

  • We consistently report the highest number of critical care days among the private hospitals in metro Denver. The hospital's cardiac cath labs are state-of-the-art and have contributed to national benchmark recognition for care of certain heart patients.
  • Approximately one in every ten births in Colorado occurs at Saint Joseph Hospital, and we are recognized throughout the Rocky Mountain Region as a referral center for high-risk mothers. Critically ill newborns are cared for in the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
  • Nearly one in ten Denver area residents hospitalized with cancer receives care at Exempla Saint Joseph. The hospital's radiation therapy program is the region's busiest, treating more than 85 patients each day.
  • Two adjacent units with a total of 48 beds comprise the Orthopedic Unit, which is the busiest in Denver. A fully equipped physical therapy room is also located on the unit.
  • In September 2007, The Children's Hospital at Saint Joseph Hospital opened its doors. As the larger Children's Hospital recently moved to its new location away from central Denver, this 16-bed hospital within a hospital continues to provide expert inpatient and emergency services to pediatric patients in our community.

Owned and operated by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas, since the very beginning in 1873, Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital is one of the largest non-profit hospitals in the region. Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital is the major admitting hospital for Colorado Kaiser Permanente and maintains contracts with most of the major health plans in the Denver metro area. We are among the busiest hospitals in Denver and we've received national recognition for our quality of care. Three times we've been ranked nationally among the 100 Top Teaching Hospitals for Mercer Management Consulting, Inc. and HICA, Inc.