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Inspired Giving: The Montalbano Family Story

Drs. Pat and Frank Montalbano

Almost from the time Dr. Frank Montalbano arrived in San Diego with his wife, Pat, a pediatrician, to start his medical practice in 1960, he began to have a profound influence on Sharp Memorial Hospital. The hospital had only been open for five years, and Dr. Frank, an internist with a keen interest in cardiology and critical care medicine, soon found himself heading a committee to plan an intensive care unit.

ICUs were not yet standard features in U.S. hospitals, but Dr. Frank recognized the need to provide more focused care for critically ill patients and became an expert in critical care medicine himself. Once the ICU opened, his colleagues frequently called him in as a consultant on difficult cases.

During the ensuing years, Dr. Frank emerged as a leader in many other ways as well. He went on to serve on numerous committees at Sharp Memorial and became chief of the internal medicine section. From 1983 to 1985, he was the hospital’s chief of staff — a tenure that coincidentally overlapped with Dr. Pat’s term as chief of staff at Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Frank continued to practice until his retirement in 1988, but his commitment to quality medicine and to the San Diego community continued unabated. When plans were announced for the new Sharp Memorial Hospital, he and Dr. Pat talked about making a gift to support the project. Before they could follow through, however, he became sick, passing away in June 2006.

Determined to carry out their plan to participate in the hospital campaign, Dr. Pat made a generous contribution in Dr. Frank’s memory.

“He was a very caring physician and always very intent that San Diego and Sharp Memorial Hospital provide the best care for their patients,” she explains. “When the hospital was going up, I thought that having the medical ICU named after him would be an appropriate gesture.”

Thanks to her support, her husband’s legacy lives on in an entire floor of Sharp Memorial Hospital: The Dr. Francis Montalbano Medical Intensive Care Unit. In the decades to come, her gesture will not only honor the contributions of an esteemed physician leader whose vision and dedication helped shape Sharp Memorial’s reputation for excellence, but will save the lives of countless patients, enhancing the quality of health care for the citizens of San Diego.

Learn more about giving opportunities at Sharp Memorial Hospital and how you can help.