Barlow's History

Barlow Respiratory Hospital was originally founded in 1902 as the Barlow Sanatorium to treat patients with tuberculosis.  It derives its name from Walter Jarvis Barlow, who was a New York doctor when he contracted tuberculosis in 1895.  This life-changing event caused him to head West, in search of a dry, sunny climate and a cure.

Along with his new bride - Marion Patterson Brooks - he purchased the land where Barlow Respiratory Hospital's Los Angeles campus now stands. The location was a wise choice.  According to local legend, the configuration of the hills in this area is such that clean air always sweeps across the campus.

In the early years, the best prescription for treating tuberculosis patients was fresh air and sunshine. The need for an institution like Barlow Sanatorium was great. Within a year of the hospital's incorporation in 1902, buildings and staff were in place to begin admitting patients. During the first year, 75 applications for admission were received, but due to space limitations, only 34 could be accepted. Barlow became a home away from home for many patients, who literally lived for years at the hospital. Those who were well enough helped to tend to goats and other animals that gave Barlow a farm-like quality.

While the nation was at war, the Barlow community became closer with the founding of the Barlow Sanatorium Guild - a social and philanthropic organization. This tradition continues today with the Barlow Foundation, the Guild House Gift Shop and a cadre of volunteers who assist with special programs and events at the hospital.

The transformation of Barlow Sanatorium into a hospital for long-term acute care and respiratory diseases continued slowly over the next several decades. Barlow's shift away from a sanatorium treating the needs of tuberculosis patients continued as the widespread use of new drugs proved TB is manageable.

Barlow shifted its focus to the next frontier of critical respiratory disease. While at the beginning of the 1970s, 90% of Barlow's patent population was being treated for TB, by the end of that decade, only 10% of the patients were being treated for tubercular-related respiratory diseases.

Today, Barlow specializes in treating the needs of patients with complex medical conditions who require longer hospital stays. Along with the original campus located next door to Dodger Stadium, Barlow operates satellite facilities in Whittier and Van Nuys.

Patients that come to Barlow require expert, specialized care. Treatment may include ventilator weaning, pulmonary rehabilitation, and wound care management. Providing hope and relief to patients is captured well in Barlow's tagline:

"Helping You Breathe Easier"