- Find a Doctor
- Medical Services
- Patients & Visitors
- Classes & Events
- Health Library
- Why Choose Sharp?
Marie Mitrione didn't want to fly alone from her home state of New York to California and she definitely didn't want to find herself in a hospital once she got there. At 87 years old, it took some coaxing by her daughter, Rosemarie Ballard, to get her to travel west. Once she arrived, however, Mitrione enjoyed spending time with her family, dining out at restaurants and attending get-togethers.
Marie and Rosemarie, also known as Wower.
Near the end of her trip, things took a turn for the worse when Mitrione suffered an aggressive asthma attack. Wary of being hospitalized so far from home, Mitrione was taken to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center and quickly realized that the facility was unlike anywhere she had been cared for before.
"From the time I was put in the ambulance to the last day of my stay, I was treated like a queen," Mitrione said. "All of my nurses and doctors were so nice and I was never once left alone. I got lots of hugs and kisses when I left."
Ballard knew her mom would be in good hands at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center because she often sees the excellent care provided there. As a clown volunteer named Wower, Ballard uses costumes, props and jokes to put smiles on the faces of patients and family members — although many times, a smile or hug is the best medicine she has to offer.
"I get so much joy when I can make someone smile during a difficult time," Ballard said, fondly recalling the time a man thanked her for simply sitting with his wife, who was being treated for cancer. "It feels natural, like I was born to help others."
While Ballard continues to entertain patients at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center with her clown routine, Mitrione is back home in New York, no longer wary of taking trips alone.
"I was worried that I wouldn't be taken care of if I became sick away from home," Mitrione said. "But after my wonderful experience, I want to tell others to not let health concerns keep them from traveling or being with family. Take that trip while you can."
1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.
If you have any additional questions,
send us an email using our secure contact form.
Sharp HealthCare is San Diego's health care leader with 7 hospitals and 2,600 affiliated doctors.
Sharp is not-for-profit and relies on fundraising. © 2013 Sharp HealthCare. All rights reserved.