Committed to Care: Care fit for a princess

A female nurse hugs a female patient
Henrico nurse, Heather Nelson, embraces Sara

Just when you were getting fed up with your daily news consumption, a story comes along that makes your soul smile.

A story of compassion, kindness, and strength. A story that celebrates inclusion, demonstrates the goodwill of people and restores your faith in humanity.

This is the story of Sara Ruh.

A female patient waving from her hospital bed

Patient, Sara Ruh at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital

Please take a moment to read an abbreviated version of Debra Ruh’s experience at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital after her daughter Sara was hospitalized at the HCA Healthcare affiliate in Richmond, Va. Make sure to watch the video at the end for a glimpse of the care team who raised the bar and delivered an exceptional patient experience.

*Note: This letter has been edited for length and clarity for HCA Healthcare Today.

I wanted to take the time to personally thank you and your team for taking care of our daughter Sara Ruh last fall.  Sara was born with Downs Syndrome but has been blessed with good health most of her life. She is in her early 30s and can read and write a little, but her communication skills are challenging.  

In October 2018, Sara was admitted onto the fourth floor of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital.  We stayed for more than two weeks, were released and re-admitted through the emergency room on Thanksgiving morning. Overall, we had two stays in your hospital for a total of more than three weeks.

This long stay allowed us to engage with your team from various areas of the hospital. From ER, CT, x-rays, pre-op, OR, post-op, transports, cafeteria, coffee shop, nutrition, phlebotomists, parking, and of course, the amazing staff on the fourth floor, we were impressed.

The team on the fourth floor especially wrapped us in love, kindness, and support.  Heather Nelson, one of your head nurses on the unit, went to school with Sara. When we saw her smile and open arms – we knew we were in good hands. 

There was something else I observed. I noticed when I got coffee, or went into the cafeteria, or walked the hallways with a transporter taking Sara to get a CT scan, with friends or alone for weeks, your staff seemed happy, proud of their profession and honored to be at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital. 

Your staff always spoke to me, were kind to each other, and joked around from one end of the hospital to the other.  This was a surprise.  I have been in many hospitals, and I quickly noticed that this was going to be a different experience.

A group of nurses wearing tiaras and feather boas during a princess party for a patient

A surprise princess party for Sara thrown by the Henrico team. Holding a sign that reads “For Our Princess. We Love You!!”, Sara beams.

This was an intense time for our family. Our daughter was very sick and we were not sure she was going to make it. So, not only did your team save our daughters life – THANK YOU – but they enveloped us in arms of love, professionalism and caring from every part of your hospital. 

This is a story everyone should hear – Henrico Doctors’ Hospital is getting it right.  Whatever you are doing – keep it up.

Bravo and thank you,

Debra M. Ruh

A mother and daughter holding hands as they walk around a hospital

Debra Ruh holds her daughter’s hand as they walk the halls of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital with gratitude-filled hearts.


Thank you to our committed caregivers at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital for reminding us of all of the ways we can help others in need.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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