40 Years of Exceptional Care

By: Julie Devereux

September 12, 2022

letter from patient

“In sickness and in health” are words we often hear when celebrating the momentous occasion of marriage with our friends, families and loved ones. For James Breckenridge, these words were the foundation of the love and commitment he and his wife Carolyn showed to each other during their 30 years of marriage.

In health, James and Carolyn shared a love of traveling. Hopping in their van, driving across the continental United States and enjoying the views along the way will be a memory James cherishes forever. Unfortunately, their excursions would be cut short when Carolyn fell ill, rerouting to their local hospital, Renown Health.

Carolyn has spent more time at the hospital than the average person – including recovering from COVID-19 at Renown South Meadows Medical Center. However, hospital admittance for Carolyn meant the same for James, providing support to his wife during her stay. Following more than 40 years of exceptional experiences with Renown and their most recent discharge from the hospital, James wrote a letter recognizing the efforts of the team members and healthcare providers who not only cared for Carolyn but also James.

To Whom It May Concern

James began his letter by applauding two Renown Regional nurses they got to know well during their recent visit. Tiffany and Ashley went the extra mile to care for Carolyn attentively. From simple tasks like gathering requested supplies to answering James’ questions in detail, they helped provide a comfortable environment for the couple. To these nurses, these tasks may have felt like another day at work. Still, James’ letter commends them for their acts of service, reminding us that every interaction we have with a patient can be a memorable one.

Tiffany and Ashley weren’t the only team members who received recognition in James’ testimonial. He also took a moment to recognize the various nurses, certified nursing assistants, therapists and doctors they encountered during their care journey. All provided the excellent and helpful experience we aim for at Renown.

Healing Memories

James first brought Carolyn to Renown Regional Medical Center, formerly known as Washoe Medical Center, in 1980, but it was 1996 when things changed for him. Carolyn was admitted to the hospital for a procedure they originally anticipated would come with a difficult prognosis. To their surprise, doctors found the opposite. It was in that joyous moment that James’ perspective of hospitals shifted, now viewing them for what they truly are – a place people go to get better. “Every time I walk around Renown Hospital, I remember all the times Carolyn was healed there,” James wrote in the latter half of his letter.

Healing Isn't Just for the Patient

James took advantage of the many support resources accessible to family members during their time at Renown. These donor-funded hospital initiatives are a valuable mental health resource in difficult circumstances. Whether it was an afternoon stroll with his wife through Fianna’s Healing Garden or quiet time alone in the Spiritual Center, James never hesitated to turn to these resources in his time of need.

“Although I know the Tahoe Tower is the modern, state-of-the-art part of Renown, I prefer the Sierra Tower because that is where most of my memories are.” Even a simple daily walk to the on-campus Starbucks was a notable part of his day – grabbing a cup of coffee for himself and often a treat for Carolyn.

An Inspiration in Healthcare

When asked to describe Renown in one word, James chose “inspirational.” His collective experiences with Renown, James said, “helped him to be a better healthcare advocate” when his wife received care at other hospitals. As a healthcare leader, we challenge ourselves to go above and beyond for the health of our entire community. Collaborating with our patients and their families is at the center of everything we do at Renown. Positive reviews mean the absolute world to us, and something about this handwritten letter feels even more special.

We could not be more appreciative to James for sharing how our vision to inspire better health in our community was reflected in his 40 years of experience with Renown.

We were saddened to hear of Carolyn’s passing during a recent meeting to thank James for his letter. We take solace hearing James’ beautiful memories of his wife and knowing that Renown Health was there in times of sickness and health. We offer our sincere condolences to James, Carolyn’s children and their family members.

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