Dr. Elvin Gaines: His Shingle Comes Down, But His Commitment Goes On

Dr. Elvin Gaines has one of those faces that just about everyone in Simi Valley recognizes. You might know Dr. Gaines as the family medicine physician who rushed your brother across the street to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy, or perhaps he scheduled your sister’s tonsillectomy.

Whatever the procedure, you knew that Dr. Gaines would be there to provide outstanding medical care, just as he did in 1963, when he joined the Simi Valley practice of Dr. J.O. Jones. All that changed, however, when Dr. Gaines hung up his stethoscope and retired from private practice at the end of last year.

In a December 2004 letter addressed to Simi Valley Hospital’s chief of the medical staff, Dr. Gaines announced his intentions to leave private practice: “As the shingle comes down for the last time outside my office door, I will be leaving next week, the day after I retire, to return to relief medicine in Africa.”

Over the years, Dr. Gaines has made two trips each to Guam and Africa, as well as journeys to Thailand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, to administer medical care. On his third and most recent trip to Africa, he traveled with his son, Darin, to the countries of Chad and Cameroon. Dr. Gaines provided much-needed medical care, while Darin, an architect, redesigned hospital campuses.

As he was looking forward with enthusiasm to the new chapter in his life, Dr. Gaines took time to reflect on his years of service to the residents of Simi Valley.

“By 1965 we had our first hospital building, and I was excited to perform the first surgeries and deliver the first baby in that facility,” he said, adding that he had delivered many babies in his private office by the time Simi Valley Hospital was built. “Now I can go up to the roof of our medical building and photograph the progress of the new Patient Care Tower.”

In the years ahead, Dr. Gaines plans to continue enjoying and nurturing the professional relationships he has established over the years at the hospital, as well as staying active in his church.

Spring 2005