Douglas E. Barnhart Makes $2.5 Million Gift to Build Robotic Surgery Suites at Scripps Mercy Hospital

Grateful Patient Gives Back to Hospital and Encourages Additional Community Support

Douglas E. Barnhart, founder of Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc., a San Diego building, engineering and construction management firm, has made a $2.5 million gift to modernize Scripps Mercy’s operating rooms used for minimally invasive robotic surgery. In January 2008, Mr. Barnhart received lifesaving prostate cancer surgery through the Scripps Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery Program.

To encourage additional community support, Mr. Barnhart has announced that his $2.5 million donation is a matching challenge gift, which doubles the value of other gifts made to Scripps Mercy to help raise the $5 million needed to build the hospital’s robotic surgical suites.

“This is a challenge that is very close to home in many ways. Not only is San Diego my home, but our community is in need of top-of-the-line medical facilities,” says Douglas E. Barnhart. “We need these facilities to keep and attract expert surgeons like Dr. Carol Salem, who performed my surgery."

In 2007, Scripps launched the Scripps Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery Program under the leadership of medical director Carol Salem, M.D., to provide patients with robotic-assisted surgery that can result in less blood loss, less risk of infection, less pain and scarring, and a quicker recovery. Surgeons throughout the Scripps Health system perform robotic surgeries at Scripps Mercy, including prostate, urologic, cardiothoracic and gynecologic procedures. Scripps is now the only San Diego-based health system to offer cardiac robotic surgery, and it does so without rib or sternal spreading.

The new minimally invasive surgical suites will provide additional space for the state-of-the-art robotic technology and will be equipped with advanced video conferencing capabilities to teach surgeons and medical specialists about the benefits of lifesaving, robotic-assisted surgery.

“It is through the generosity of donors like Doug Barnhart that Scripps Mercy Hospital can expand our services and update our facilities to meet the growing health care needs of more than one million people in the communities we serve,” says Tom Gammiere, chief executive of Scripps Mercy Hospital. “The modernization of our operating rooms is part of a larger plan to expand the hospital’s key critical care and cancer facilities. As a non-profit hospital, none of this is possible without community support.”

Scripps Mercy Hospital serves the San Diego and Chula Vista communities. With 700 licensed beds, more than 3,000 employees and 1,300 physicians, Scripps Mercy Hospital is San Diego’s longest established and only Catholic hospital. With two campuses, Scripps Mercy Hospital is the largest hospital in San Diego County and one of the 10 largest in California. For more information about ways to support Scripps Mercy Hospital, please visit or call 619-686-3836.

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