As Time Goes By: Family Practice Physician Reflects on the Past, Present and Future

John Hayes, MD

Beyond the gentle, blue eyes and quiet, easygoing façade of Simi Valley Hospital’s longest-practicing physician beats the heart of a charmingly witty man whose history with the hospital goes back to its earliest days.

Talk for a few minutes with family practice physician John Hayes, MD, and he might just catch you off guard with a humorous observation or candid statement.

“I’ve been on staff the longest, but I’m definitely not the oldest,” quipped Hayes, who was part of the original medical staff when Simi Valley Community Hospital opened in 1965. “My odds of retiring are now two million to one because I just bought two lottery tickets.”

Engineering vs. Medicine

A Los Angeles native, Hayes was born at St. Vincent’s Hospital in 1935. As a young man, he had a mild interest in becoming an engineer, but his career path eventually steered toward medicine.

“At my mother’s urging, I took biology courses,” said Hayes. “The inner workings of a man and a machine can be similar in some respects, but I like people better. That’s why I got into medicine.”

After receiving a medical degree from UCLA in 1961, Hayes completed residencies at San Francisco General Hospital and Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Oakland. In 1964, he partnered with Harry Braun, MD, who is now retired from practice.

The Early Years

In time, Harry Drummond, MD, joined Hayes and Braun, providing medical services in a small office located near the intersection of Erringer Road and Royal Avenue in Simi Valley.

“In those days we were real doctors,” said Hayes. “We could deliver babies and perform surgery. The advent of malpractice lawsuits changed that.”

Hayes also remembers the original Simi Valley Community Hospital, now known as Simi Valley Hospital. “That little 50-bed hospital got the job done, and it is still there today,” remarked Hayes, with a stitch of pride in his voice.

Looking Forward

Just as Hayes remembers the original hospital facility — including the first rain that flooded the downstairs surgical rooms — he has had the opportunity to experience various hospital expansions.

“The hospital has continued to grow without jeopardizing the friendly atmosphere it has been known for,” he said

What’s next for Hayes? One thing for sure is not retirement.

“I’m enjoying work as long as I can keep up,” he said. “As long as I can continue to heal people, I’ll stick with it.”

September 2005