Thanks in part to the Henry L. Guenther Foundation’s transformative grant of $300,000 last year in support of the Ocean View Tower at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, we are well on our way to serving approximately 130,000 patients this year. Because of your generosity, we have been able realize Sharp’s vision of ensuring the residents of San Diego’s South Bay have access to a state-of-the-art and high quality hospital that will lead the way in advanced medicine.
The entire team at Sharp — from our Leadership and Executives, dedicated physicians and caregivers at Sharp Chula Vista to our patients and their loved ones — each has greatly benefited from your generous philanthropic support. As we look forward with anticipation on how your gift will continue to change lives in the future, it is important to reflect on our accomplishments to date. The new Ocean View Hospital Tower groundbreaking took place on November 10, 2016 and the topping out ceremony with the building’s highest structural beam raised into place took place a little more than one year later on November 16, 2017.
It is my honor to share that the new decade was ushered in with the official ribbon cutting of the Ocean View Tower, representing the first new hospital in San Diego’s South Bay in 40 years, on Friday, January 10, 2020. A hospital built by the community through generous philanthropic support and for the community, the new tower features all private patient rooms, technologically advanced surgical suites, and the region’s only hybrid operating room. I am also so thrilled to share a special honor the new hospital tower received late last year: Just prior to opening, Design Build Institute of America announced that the tower would be named the 2019 Design-Build National Project of the Year. This prestigious recognition demonstrates our construction team’s ability to achieve quality goals through unique design-build best practices.
Your gift in support of the Ocean View Tower at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center means so much to so many in the South Bay. One person in particular impacted by your generosity is Ruth “Jeanne” Dickey, a beloved member of Sharp Chula Vista for decades.
After many years of planning, the new hospital tower is now operational. Patients have been transferred to the building and receive exceptional care. In anticipation of the move, a planning committee worked diligently since May 2018 to prepare to transition patients and departments — including kitchen and dietary teams, pharmacy, surgical intensive care, post-anesthesia care, pre-op, surgery and more — to the new tower. A similar — yet, far smaller-scale — effort took place 45 years ago, when 15 patients were transferred from Community Hospital of Chula Vista on F Street to the new Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, fondly known as the “hospital on the hill,” in May 1975.
Jeanne Dickey began her nursing career at Community Hospital of Chula Vista in 1970. She clearly remembers the excitement leading up to the hospital’s move. “Everyone was thrilled with thoughts of moving to a brand-new hospital on the hill,” Jeanne says. “We even held ‘dime-a-dip’ dinners to help raise money for equipment.” According to Jeanne, the dinners were potluck meals organized by hospital staff members, who brought dishes to share and paid 10 cents for each serving of their colleagues’ contributions. “We didn’t make a lot of money, but it was a good get-together,” Jeanne says. “We were all very excited at the thought of a new building and new equipment. We were still using old iron beds with cranks to elevate the head and foot of the bed before the move.”
Jeanne worked the evening shift on opening day, May 24, 1975, and the first patients had already been moved by ambulance to the new hospital. “They were in brand-new, state-of-the-art beds. No more hand-cranking, and the beds actually went up and down to facilitate patient transfers,” she says. Jeanne retired in 1996, but has never left the Sharp Chula Vista team. She began volunteering and serves in many different areas of the hospital to this day. Her husband, Wayne, also volunteered as a shuttle driver for many years, and her two grandsons have served as Sharp Chula Vista volunteers as well. Fast forward to 2020 and the move to the new tower. The project required the setup of a command center, the hub for all communication. Along with whole units and team members, approximately 96 patients were moved into the new tower. Teams of clinical staff were on both the sending and receiving ends to ensure safe patient handoffs.
Jeanne understands why moving day might have been emotional for Sharp Chula Vista staff. Many left areas they have worked in for more than 20 years. She remembers that when they moved in 1975, team members were afraid they might lose some of the camaraderie from working so closely on the F Street campus. “We started having potlucks again, for fun this time, no dimes involved, and other departments joined us,” she says. “With each expansion, there is fear that we might lose the feelings of belonging and fellowship that we share, but Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center will always be a caring and sharing environment, and a wonderful place to serve our patients.”
The Henry L. Guenther Foundation can be proud that your contribution to Sharp HealthCare Foundation and Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center has helped us transform health care in San Diego.
Bill Littlejohn, Senior Vice President and CEO
Sharp HealthCare Foundation