There’s a new hospitalist at Doctors Hospital who comes across as caring angel.
Dr. Shonze Del Pozo spent quality time with her paternal grandmother growing up. It is reflected in her character and her attention to senior citizens. Being a hospitalist, she fills in for Manteca physicians who are busy with others.
Her body language and tone of her voice combine for in a special loving bedside manner. It reflects her love for older patients and her medical profession. Her demeanor is anything but hurried. It takes only seconds for her patients to realize they are her No. 1 concern at that moment.
I was visiting a friend of mine who was hospitalized for several weeks at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. I quickly became enamored by her soft caring voice and gentle touch as I watched through the doorway. He was so fortunate to have her serving his needs.
Del Pozo received her undergraduate degree from U.C. Davis in Sacramento and then went on to John Hopkins in Baltimore to obtain her medical degree. After graduation she worked with the residency programs in Baltimore. She worked full-time teaching the residents inpatient service and internal medicine within the hematology and oncology in-patient service.
“When I came back to California I learned that hospitals here couldn’t hire their own physicians,” she said. “ In Maryland hospitals could hire physicians directly. When they first started the hospitalist program, they were using (professionals) — similar to substitute teachers that can be hired at the last minute.”
She explained that those physicians — hospitalists — work around at different facilities until those hospitals can get their full-time people on line.
“I started to do that and that’s how I got to know Doctors Hospital in Manteca. The beginning of the program was very busy. I think we are just learning how to develop and organize a hospitalist program within the hospital for emergency and internal medicine,” she added.
The doctor was quick to acknowledge that treating senior citizens is her favorite. When I mentioned I saw her at Dale Johnson’s bedside downstairs, she responded with, “He’s a nice man.”
Her love for geriatric
patients started as
volunteer in Fremont
She said she was taught by many geriatricians in her training.
“At Hopkins I interned year at Hopkins Bay View Hospital and they had a wonderful geriatrics program there. Both through medical school and my intern year, I was taught by many geriatricians. Really my love for geriatric patients started before that when I would volunteer in the nursing homes when I was still in high school in Fremont. I would just take them for walks, push them around the campus and do activities with them.”
She noted that when the hospitalist program began in Manteca, the doctors were hired on a part-time basis. Now it’s pretty much seven days a week and 10 hours a day.
Pozo has five generations of grandmothers on her mother’s side and one paternal grandmother who she pretty much shadowed while growing up and in her teen years. She still has a great grandmother on her father’s side.
Still living, her paternal grandmother devoted much of her life also to an uncle who had been born with the umbilical cord around his neck and suffered from symptoms similar to a cerebral palsy patient due to the lack of oxygen. It was her undying care that saw him survive to be 53 years old.
“We took him with us everywhere and even to the movies,” she said.
Unable to speak, he would communicate by kicking or calling out to us and he loved to joke, she added. “If you would say something with a little bit of humor, he would get it right away.”
As for her grandparents, she noted that she was with them a lot when she was younger.
“Every other year in the summer they would take us to Colorado from their Fremont home. We would swim and we would go to Lake Elizabeth and do paddle boats, so we were always doing a lot of activities.”
She said her grandmother would take them to an amusement park there and go up on the roller coaster with them, experiencing all the rides as well as getting out on the power boats.
“Grandma sacrificed so much, no matter how tired she was in her 60s, she kept going and did things for other people as well. Even if her feet hurt or her legs hurt, she would be running around with us to make sure we had a good time — she is still like that.
She loves type of
patients in Manteca
Del Pozo profiles people with an innate sense as to who they are and what they are feeling. She acknowledged that she is “very perceptive” with people that can be very helpful in interacting with her patients — realizing what they are feeling and what they are needing.
She and her husband have an 11-year-old son, Nicolas, and a daughter Amelie, 3. The doctor said she loves Manteca because of the type of patient she is treating — most still involved with the community and proud to be working to get well.
“They are the salt of the earth patients and their families as well, with us making sure we respect them as individuals,” she stressed.
“I often tell my patients they have to decide if they are going all out to get better or they are going to give up, because I’m not a middle of the road kind of person. A person’s attitude is huge to their recovery,” she noted. “(You’ve) got to put a fire under their steps day-to-day.”
“The elderly patients still have that inner strength with a desire to work harder. They are proud and want to work hard,” she said. “I use that sometimes with younger adults, telling them that my 85-year-old lady down the hall is running around doing laps and you are just lying there in bed feeling sorry for yourself. If you want to get better let’s get it together.”
To contact Glenn Kahl email email@example.com or call 209.249.3539