Jan is a familiar face at Sharp Coronado Hospital, where she heads up the Wound and Ostomy Department. She’s often seen making rounds to hospital patients in need of what has become her area of expertise: wounds that refuse to heal. She practices the highly specialized KCI VAC Therapy, which promotes healing by delivering negative pressure to the wound site (a vacuum.) She was keenly aware of how valuable the Wound VAC would be in the case of a disaster where huge numbers of people were injured and danger of infection ran high. “I used to wonder if there would come a time when I’d be called on to do what I do in a situation like that. And then the Haiti earthquake happened.”
On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake leveled Port au Prince, the capital city of the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The entire city was left in an unrecognizable pile of rubble. Water, power, and phone service were completely cut off. 1.5 million people were left homeless. An estimated 200,000 people were killed. Many survivors were horribly crushed or trapped beneath the wreckage. Pleas for help went out to medical professionals everywhere, and Jan was on a plane by April. Attached to a hospital that miraculously escaped damage, she slept on a cot in the hall, or on the roof when the heat became unbearable. She arranged for KCI to donate ten Wound VACs to the hospital, her proudest achievement. She has recently returned from her third trip to Port au Prince, where she admittedly leaves a piece of her heart each time.
A graduate of UC San Francisco, Jan has been a nurse for thirty-three years, twenty of them spent living in Coronado with husband Irv. Irv recently retired as a television news director at KNSD 39. They have two daughters who are both Coronado High School graduates.
“To be successful, the first thing you must do is fall in love with your work.” Sister Mary Lauretta