Escondido, CA
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Mostly clear

Community members show support for Palomar Health

Palomar Health patient John Forst donated this message chair to the emergency department staff as a thank you for their quality care.

Thoughtful community members have been finding ways both big and small to support Palomar Health throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In recent months, donors have contributed personal protective equipment (PPEs), hundreds of meals, cash and more than 30,000 cloth masks.

John Forst, a San Marcos resident and former chairman of the Palomar Health Foundation, was inspired to donate a massage chair for emergency department employees to use in their breakroom at Palomar Medical Center Escondido.

“I was in the hospital having surgery a couple of months ago and the nurses did a good job and took great care of me,” he said. “So I asked, ‘What kinds of things could you use here in the hospital?’ There’s never a lack of things. The staff always have a wish list.” After conversations with the ER staff and hospital leaders, he decided a massage chair would be most beneficial to employees. 

Dawn Morrison, a nurse in the emergency department, explained why the gift is so meaningful to her team. “We’re so busy taking care of other people,” she said. “This is a way for us to come and unwind and relax,” she said. Nurses and emergency room technicians often work shifts that can stretch to 12 hours, so having a chance to decompress amid the stress of their job is really appreciated.

“When you get in that chair, it’s great,” Morrison said. “I used it the other day and it was such a blessing. It takes you away from your work for a little while.”

Jen Olson, an emergency department technician, was among the first employees to try it out. “I sat in it during my entire 40-minute break,” she said. “It was so relaxing!”

Forst, who helped raise funds to build Palomar Medical Center Escondido and has been a major donor himself, said sometimes a small gesture is just as meaningful as a large gift. 

“I have had a chance to be involved with Palomar Health for the past 25 years or so. I’m pretty familiar with what happens in the hospital and how hard everybody works,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the little things that help the doctors, nurses and staff know how much they’re appreciated.”

To learn more about supporting Palomar Health, visit

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