Shahrdad Khodamoradi, MD, an
anesthesiologist at Barnes-Jewish
West County Hospital, has an unusual
favorite snack: matzo and peanut
butter. But not just any matzo, it has
to be salted. Leave it to Sharon Baker,
the hospital’s late medical staff office
manager, to know that little tidbit about
Dr. Khodamoradi. In fact, she kept
a box of salted matzo hidden away
in the doctor’s lounge just for him.
That’s just one tiny example of why the hospital doctors and
staff adored Sharon. Her legendary warmth, compassion
and tireless graciousness made her a pillar of Barnes-Jewish
West County and her colleagues were heartbroken when
she passed away on May 26, 2017. She had devoted 27 years
to the hospital she loved so much.
“She made every single one of us feel like we were her favorite
person. Sharon was like a Jewish mother who doted on everyone,”
Dr. Khodamoradi says. “Every time I go into the lounge, I still
look for her.”
He’s far from alone. In fact, members of the Barnes-Jewish
West County medical staff association so wanted to honor
her legacy that they created a patient care fund in her name
at The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. This endowed
fund, established with a $50,000 gift, will help provide a
financial lifeline for years to come to patients who are unable
to pay for critical medical treatments and other daily necessities
including food, rent and utilities.
Physicians and other individuals within the hospital and local
community are also joining in the effort to remember Sharon.
If another $25,000 can be raised from individual donations, the
medical staff association has agreed to match up to that amount,
bringing the total funds raised in her memory to $100,000. In
addition, at this level of philanthropy, the replacement hospital’s
medical staff lounge will be named in Sharon’s honor.
“Sharon’s knowledge of the workings and history of the hospital
was essential in guiding our leadership over the years,” says
J. Chris Eagon, MD, chief of staff. “And in the early days, she
was truly a one-person sales force for our hospital, traveling to area
physician offices encouraging them to send patients to the hospital.
“After Sharon’s passing, many of us on the medical staff wanted
to appropriately commemorate all that Sharon gave to this
hospital,” he says. “With the construction of the new hospital, it
seemed appropriate to create a philanthropic gift to memorialize
her devotion to the medical staff.”
Sharon’s husband, Barry, knows how much the fund’s creation
would have meant to his wife.
“The hospital was a big part of Sharon’s life,” Barry says. “The
doctors and staff were like family to her, and most of her friends
worked for the hospital. Her main focus was helping doctors and
patients. She wanted to make sure everyone got the right care.”
“Everyone” is the operative word in that last sentence, as Sharon
was concerned about each person she met, regardless of who
they were or their role at the hospital, says Roxane Harbaugh,
who now manages the medical staff office.
In a personal experience, she recalls Sharon’s efforts to help
when Roxane’s husband was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013.
Sharon checked in with her every day to see if she or her family
"She wanted to make sure I was okay,
that my husband was safe, that we were
all safe,” Roxane says. “That’s the type
of person she was. She was a friend to
all of us and the mother of Barnes-Jewish