We learned a long time ago that doing what’s expected isn’t always enough

Stories Worth Telling

A doctor steps beyond her everyday duties to help a fellow human being in need. A switchboard operator listens, really listens, to the person on the other side of the line. A team of providers rushes to the aid of woman in distress, even before she sets foot in the clinic. Virtually every day, stories like these unfold at Sunset Health. Here are just a few of them.

Driven to Care

I was working my shift as the switchboard operator one day when I received a call from a patient. I immediately noticed by her tone of voice that she was very upset and frustrated. Helping a patient over the phone can sometimes be challenging so we’ve learned to be thoughtful in these situations. I listened carefully to the woman and asked her some questions so I could get a better sense of her situation. She shared that she had recently been evicted from her home and was staying at a hotel. She was not feeling well due to her anxiety. She knew she needed help. But she had no funds or transportation to get to our clinic. Knowing I could not let this woman go without the care she needed, I spoke to my supervisor about the situation. We quickly made arrangements to pay for a taxi to bring her to the clinic so that we could help her. When she was feeling better, she told us she was no longer scared to be alone, knowing that Sunset Health would always be there for her.

— Story shared by Breanna Enriquez

The Sundy Undy Program

A healthy upbringing is essential for kids to get a proper start in life. But we’ve found that even small obstacles can prevent a child from receiving proper health care. Shortly after we opened the School Heath Center at Rancho Viejo Elementary School, which services a high poverty area, Dr. Robert Cannell of Sunset Health met a boy who refused to take his pants off for an examination. His reason? He wasn’t wearing underwear. His mother was out of work and the family simply couldn’t afford any clothes.

Dr. Cannell is a big man with an even bigger heart. He told his congregation, the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, about the children without undergarments. Together, they sprung into action and created the Sundy Undy program, where parishioners donate new underwear and socks for the children of families who are financially challenged. The children were delighted to receive these comfy clothing essentials, including a young girl who no longer worried about going down the slide at the school’s playground.

Sunday Undy has been providing socks and underwear to kids for some time now. And it all began because of a caring Sunset Health doctor who understood that good healthcare is impossible without compassion.

— Story shared by Edna Hernandez, RN

Stepping in to Make a Difference

In November of 2018, one of Dr. Pamela Sharp’s patients came in with very high blood pressure. As part of her treatment, Dr. Sharp had asked the patient to  monitor her blood pressure at home on a daily basis. But that wasn’t happening. The woman had a difficult time doing so because she couldn’t afford a blood pressure machine of her own. And she was unable to come to the clinic regularly because of transportation challenges. Understanding that her patient’s health was in a precarious situation, Dr. Sharp took it upon herself to buy her a blood pressure machine.

This is just one of many stories that illustrates how our providers are willing to go beyond their immediate responsibilities to give our patients the quality of care they deserve.

— Story shared by Sheila Beltran

Prepared to Care

Working in a health center can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Medical emergencies can happen at any moment. But with the help of a well prepared and properly trained staff, patients who are in danger can be treated quickly and effectively.

One particular day, I was walking toward the clinic entrance when I saw a women suddenly fall to the ground. I immediately ran toward her to help. But by the time I arrived, the nursing staff and two medical providers were already attending to her. Thanks to the responsive front desk staff, an emergency code was called and we were able to provide the woman with the treatment she needed. She was soon able to go home without any further issues. Our staff was thankful that we were there when she needed us.

— Story shared by Dr. Eleazar Castaneda