A lifetime of dedication to Sharp

By The Health News Team | February 7, 2024
Dr. Blossom Sanger of San Diego

Dr. Sanger, a former doctor, knows she is making an impact through philanthropy at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Dr. Blossom Sanger practiced anesthesiology at Coronado Hospital for decades, even before it officially affiliated with Sharp HealthCare to become Sharp Coronado Hospital in 1994.

“I was used to working with the most wonderful neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, pulmonary surgeons and general surgeons who would sit by their patients and take care of them,” says Dr. Sanger, now age 92. “That doesn’t happen in other places.”

The quality of care has always stood out to Dr. Sanger, whether she was working alongside her late husband, Dr. George Sanger, or if she was a patient. And that was very evident to her when a recent fall sent her to the emergency room. She lost her balance turning a corner at home and fell, fracturing her hip.

When Dr. Sanger was in the hospital, she caught up with an anesthesiologist who knew some of her old colleagues. Her surgeon recognized her name from her paintings that hang in the hallway.

“The new doctors I met were terrific,” Dr. Sanger says. “They were as good as the old guys.”

Even as Sharp Coronado Hospital undertakes a $46.2 million project to expand the Emergency Department from eight beds to 15, relocate the Intensive Care Unit, remodel the exterior and retrofit the hospital tower, it’s the people inside the hospital, Dr. Sanger says, that make her experience so special.

“The vision that turned the hospital around was to be the patient, to care about patients as people, to look up to and listen to them,” she says. “Every doctor should be a patient for a while and see what it’s like to have doctors walk in who don’t look at you, don’t introduce themselves, the nurses who don’t tell you their name.”

Dr. Sanger and her husband, who was a long-time obstetrician and gynecologist before he passed away in 2015, always made sure to give their patients a positive experience. And when they were the ones who needed care, the staff at Sharp Coronado reciprocated.

“My husband and I always tried our best to turn this hospital into a little jewel,” Dr. Sanger says. “We knew what it could be.”

From practitioner to patient and philanthropist

Over the years, Dr. Sanger has been treated for various reasons, from an intestinal obstruction to what she calls a “little heart attack.” Each time, she has left the hospital grateful for treating her so well.

Of her last hospital stay, Dr. Sanger believes her husband would have loved it. “He would have loved the high level of care from each person involved,” she says.

Dr. Sanger, who was president of the medical staff and a member of the Sharp Coronado Hospital Governing Board before she retired, has always made it a priority to give back as much as she could in addition to contributing to fundraising efforts. She has given Guardian Angel pins to her physicians. And she has made donations to the Katy Green & Cathy McJannet Nursing Scholarship Fund, which affords Sharp Coronado nurses the opportunity to receive enhanced nursing education.

After she left the hospital following hip surgery, she thanked the staff by buying sandwiches for the emergency room and ICU. “We know what it’s like to be hungry at midnight,” Dr. Sanger says. “It’s nice to go have something to eat when you’ve been in the emergency room for hours.”

From a sandwich to a scholarship, Dr. Sanger knows she's making an impact.

“When they have the new emergency room with room for people who are waiting with their patient and with space between the beds, it’s going to make a huge difference,” she says. “I almost look forward to using it.”

Through ENVISION, The Campaign for Sharp HealthCare, Coronado Hospital Foundation is committed to raising $20.3 million to support the $46.2 million expansion, seismic retrofit and modernization of Sharp Coronado’s Emergency and Intensive Care areas. Together with philanthropic partners like Dr. Sanger, the Foundation’s leadership says it will continue to provide the most advanced medical care to the residents of the Coronado community.

Learn how you can make a difference in the future of Sharp Coronado; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.


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