Can a single act of philanthropy save a life? In the Emergency Department (ED) at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, that’s exactly what happened.
The story begins when the Sharp Chula Vista Auxiliary received a request for a bronchoscope from ED manager Christine Lopez, RN, MSN, PHN.
“A bronchoscope is a narrow, tubular piece of equipment with a camera at the end, which allows us to view a person’s airway,” explains Dr. Cathy Rogowski, emergency medicine doctor affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista. “This equipment is especially vital for someone who has a swollen tongue or airway, as it allows us to insert a tube through a person’s nose to get them oxygen in a timely manner.”
A bronchoscope is a lifesaving piece of equipment, and the ED team at Sharp Chula Vista needed one. That’s where Dave Barker, a volunteer at Sharp Chula Vista and member of the hospital’s auxiliary, stepped in to help.
“The request from our ED was a unique one,” says Barker. “While it was not in their budget to purchase a bronchoscope, our auxiliary team recognized the importance of this equipment and realized how useful it would be to assist doctors in situations where a patient’s life is at risk. We didn’t hesitate at this request, and purchased the bronchoscope right away.”
Once the bronchoscope arrived, Lopez and ED nursing supervisor Gina Camberos, RN, BSN, MSN-Ed, added it to the ED’s equipment inventory so it would be ready should they need it. They didn’t expect to need it the very next day.
“A patient arrived with one of the worst cases of a swollen tongue I had ever seen,” says Dr. Rogowski. “She was in critical condition; if we hadn’t had the bronchoscope, we would have had to do the intubation another way, such as creating an opening in the neck to get to a person’s airway. Getting that airway secured was critical to this patient’s survival and the bronchoscope ensured that it could happen.”
The Sharp Chula Vista Auxiliary serves the hospital and local community by providing volunteers at various areas within the hospital where assistance is needed. They also coordinate funding to the hospital that supports hospital projects and initiatives that improve services for our patients, visitors, employees and the community.
“The timing of the arrival of our bronchoscope and the patient arriving in our ED in need of that same equipment is astounding to me,” says Lopez. “We saved a person’s life because of our amazing team in the ED, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support from our auxiliary.”
Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Sharp.
For the news media: To talk with Dr. Rogowski about the bronchoscope for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at email@example.com.