For the media

Giving back after life-saving care

By The Health News Team | November 17, 2020
Dr. Megan DeMott (left), emergency room physician at Sharp Coronado Hospital, with patient Penny Duermeyer.

Penny Duermeyer never imagined that a trip to the Sharp Coronado Hospital ER for a mere stomachache would save her life. But it did.

In mid-August, Penny woke up with abdominal pain but ignored it for a while, thinking it would go away. Besides, she says, she was in the middle of reading a good book.

“By early afternoon I was still feeling pain, so I called my primary care physician, Dr. David Hansen,” says the Coronado resident. “He told me to go immediately to Sharp Coronado’s emergency department.”

Living only one block from Sharp Coronado, she and her husband, Steve, walked right over.

Dr. Megan DeMott examined me, supervised my blood work and ordered a CT scan,” Penny recalls. “She advised that it might be a fairly common infection that is most often resolved with antibiotics. As part of her exam, she also performed an ultrasound.”

Although she didn't tell Penny at the time, Dr. DeMott spotted a mass that she knew from experience was much too large to be a kidney stone. When the CT scan results came back, doctors confirmed a mass, approximately 1 inch in diameter. The radiologist noted it was probably cancerous.

“As I was resting, little did I know that my Sharp guardian angels were working overtime on my behalf,” Penny says.

Dr. DeMott wasted no time in contacting a trusted colleague, Dr. James Roberts, a board-certified urologic surgeon affiliated with Sharp Community Medical Group. Upon reviewing the CT scan images, Dr. Roberts agreed that the mass needed to be removed as soon as possible. Fortunately, he was able to fit Penny into his schedule at Sharp Memorial Hospital only two days later.

“By the time I was alerted to the problem, I was presented a solution,” Penny says. “I was reassured that there was a plan in place, and through a proactive team approach, Dr. DeMott reduced my anxiety. I was so impressed by her medical expertise coupled with her compassionate bedside manner.”

Penny is also grateful for Dr. Roberts’ care during her surgery. “I still can't believe that I didn't need a single incision. Talk about state-of-the-art technology guided by Dr. Roberts’ surgical hands. I didn't even need to spend the night in the hospital,” she says.

Penny’s surgery was successful and she says she is cancer-free. Once in recovery, she wanted to give back to the hospital. She heard about the Sharp Coronado Hospital Foundation's $12 million Campaign for Emergency and Intensive Care.

As part of the campaign, Sharp Coronado's expanded emergency department will provide patients with seven new private treatment rooms. The 15-bed emergency department will better meet the privacy expectations of patients and their loved ones, and reduce wait times for patients. The relocated ICU will consist of seven private rooms, allowing space for lifesaving technology as well as space for loved ones to visit while providing a calming environment for patients in their time of need.

“Funding this sort of technology and investing in health care excellence is why Steve and I have been long-time donors to the Coronado Hospital Foundation,” she adds. “After all, you just never know when you or your loved ones will need to turn to our local hospital. They might just save your life too.”

Learn more about philanthropy opportunities at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

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