Harborview's History

Harborview Medical Center began as a six-bed King County welfare hospital in a two-story South Seattle building in 1877. By 1906, the hospital had moved into a new building in Georgetown with room for 225 patient beds.

Another move occurred in 1931, when the center wing of the present hospital was completed, and King County Hospital's name was changed to Harborview.

Today, Harborview is a leading academic medical center that houses several centers of emphasis. Harborview is well-known as a patient care facility that also excels in teaching and discovery.

Some of Harborview's pioneering treatments and programs: 

  • Harborview was instrumental in establishing Medic One, one of the country's first emergency-response programs. Many of Washington State's emergency medical service technicians are trained at Harborview. 
  • The UW Burn Center at Harborview is one of the largest in the United States. It specializes in pioneering treatments, including the use of artificial skin products, which have cut mortality rates dramatically for severely burned patients. 
  • Harborview is the principal clinical site for the UW Center for AIDS research, one of the few programs in the country. The Madison Clinic, Harborview's outpatient facility, is the largest single provider of AIDS care in King County. 
  • Since 1982, more than 20,000 patients have been transported to Harborview via Airlift Northwest, which provides specially equipped helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for rapid transport of critically injured patients. 
  • Founded in 1985, the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC) works to develop, apply and evaluate methods of preventing and treating injuries. 
  • The Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress was established in 1973 and is one of the most experienced programs in the country providing medical and counseling services to sexual assault victims and their families. 
  • Thousands of patients are treated each year in neurological surgery at Harborview for disorders of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, including head and spinal cord injuries, stroke, brain tumors and disc disease and herniation of the spine. 
  • U.S. News & World Report recognized Harborview Medical Center as a “Best Hospital” in Puget Sound in its 2016-​17 “Best Hospitals” issue. Out of more than 5,000 hospitals evaluated, the magazine ranked Harborview’s rehabilitation program No. 4 in the nation​, and awarded Harborview a “high performing” designation in abdominal aortic aneurysm repair and heart failure.​ ​ ​ ​


Harborview Medical Center is a King County owned property