Since 2018, the lifesaving ER team at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center has received a beautiful bouquet of flowers each year from a mysterious sender. They recently found out they were from one of their grateful and littlest patients, Marley.
On June 15, 2018, Nathaly Alvizures and her family of five were driving east toward Jamul for a birthday celebration. As they were on the road, Nathaly's son noticed that Marley, age 1 at the time, had a high temperature and began profusely throwing up. After seeing the alarmed expression on her son's face, Nathaly rushed for help.
Anxious and with limited cellphone service, the emergency dispatcher on the phone instructed her to safely pull over so that the ambulance could locate their vehicle. She instantly made a right turn and found her way to the Chula Vista Fire Department Station 8. Her son then ran out of the car and repeatedly knocked on their front door and was greeted by several firefighters who were having a celebration of their own. The firefighters quickly cleared the table, gently laid Marley down and began emergency CPR on her.
Soon after, the ambulance made their way to the fire station and picked up Marley and Nathaly while another firefighter followed, driving her car and praying with her kids en route. The paramedics took the family to the nearest hospital, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, knowing that they could not take a chance of not making it to the children's hospital several miles north and beyond rush hour traffic.
Dr. Michael Holman and a team of highly trained emergency nurses and medical staff immediately sprang into action, resuscitating Marley and starting the emergency intubation process so that she could breathe. Nathaly, worried and afraid of what could happen to her daughter, began going into shock but was quickly comforted by a nurse who embraced and reassured her that Marley was in the safest hands. Once Marley was stabilized, they coordinated her safe transfer to Rady Children's Hospital, where she stayed for 30 days to fully recover.
Every summer since the incident, the Chula Vista Fire Department and Sharp Chula Vista ER have received a stunning bouquet of flowers from an unknown sender. This year, the flowers came with a heartfelt note that said, "Thank you for saving my life in 2018, because of you now I am 4 years old," from Marley.
On July 14, 2021, Marley, Nathaly and their family were reunited with Sharp Chula Vista's emergency team and the firefighters who saved Marley's life.
"Even though we treated Marley three years ago, I still remember this day like it was yesterday," says Dr. Holman. "It is a unique opportunity for an emergency room doctor to be able to meet somebody who they had an impact on. This is particularly exciting because I'm also a father of young girls and that experience was such an emotional tug."
"I'm just so honored to have reached out to the hospital after all this time," says Nathaly. "There will never be enough words or a bouquet of flowers beautiful enough to say thank you. They changed my family's life forever."
Joyful and excited to meet her caregivers for the first time, Marley handed a single rose to each firefighter, doctor and nurse, and said, "You are my hero."
Learn more about Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center's Emergency Department.