Brothers’ time together ends with rare smile

Eugene | September 19, 2017
Medical assistant helps brother find peace

You don’t have to be a patient to feel cared for at PeaceHealth.

That’s what John (not his real name) found out when he faced the failing health of his brother.

His brother had been a patient at PeaceHealth in Eugene, Oregon and it was Brenda Atencio (pictured), a PeaceHealth medical assistant, who ultimately helped John overcome the challenging decision to move his brother to hospice and become one of his care providers.

After his brother's passing, John was on his way to make funeral arrangements and stopped at the clinic to say a special thank you.

According to Johanna McNair, supervisor of clinic operations, John said he could not have gotten through this difficult time without Atencio.

“Without her words and the time she had taken with him, he said he didn’t feel he would have been able to move forward with hospice services or serve as a care provider for his brother,” McNair added.

John shared that he hadn’t been in the room when his brother died, but he was heartened by what he saw later. He described the “most incredible thing." His brother, who had always been a very stoic man, had “a gleam in his eye” and the “biggest smile on his face.” It was a special moment since John had rarely seen his brother smile in life. He knew his sibling was at peace.

John praised hospice and the kind services they provided through his brother’s final days.

McNair said John “knew in his heart this was all possible because of Brenda giving him the guidance he needed.” She spoke to him in a way that he could relate to and he really connected with her.

Atencio says, “I am so happy to have helped and touched this family’s life. This is why I do what I do. I just love all of my patients.”