High Stakes

Today, We Remember One of the Good Guys

Dr. Patterson
Dr. Patterson

This week, we lost a member of the Jarrard family.  Dr. Richard Patterson, our longtime client, friend, and clinical adviser, passed away from cancer – a disease he no doubt helped many patients fight over his years as a surgeon.

We met Dr. P when he was Chief Medical Officer for a community hospital in South Carolina that was in the midst of a certificate of need battle for the ages.  Always bespectacled and never without a bowtie under his white coat, he was a true believer in the power of communications and engagement with employees and physicians to accomplish, well, just about anything.

He knew that for people to truly get on board they had to help build it and shape it – be it a patient experience-focused culture, be it venturing into a new service line, be it mounting an effort to influence legislation.  He knew that the secret to real engagement is to not keep secrets.  He knew that to gain trust, you have to listen, roll up your sleeves and deliver.

And, he was one of the finest men I’ve ever known.  He taught me how to navigate sticky physician issues and how to work through tough leadership dynamics.  And he coached me personally through two pregnancies, a marathon injury, and the many things that come with the busy life of a working mom.  To hear him talk about his own family – Helen, their four girls, and grandbabies – was inspiring.  He was proud of his career, but even prouder of his family.

The thing I love the most about what we do for a living here at Jarrard is that we get to meet amazing people who every day are fulfilling a true calling that is bigger than most other professions.  These men and women, doctors and nurses, healthcare professionals – they devote their lives to making the lives of others better.  And sometimes our clients get into our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.

To the very end, Dr. P kept his spirits – and his sense of humor.  In the last email he sent me, he said, “one good thing about chemo is that my haircut budget gets diverted to my wine budget.”  Cheers to you, Dr. Patterson.  May heaven welcome you with open arms.

Dr. Patterson’s obituary is available here.


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