Remembering Bob Russell

In April of 2022, Bob Russell – “Judge” to many – fell at his home. After being taken to Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) by ambulance, he was admitted to the hospital for treatment.

After initially treating him with the goal of recovery, his condition did not improve. The focus then shifted to end-of-life planning and making sure Bob was comfortable.

Bob’s children – Rob, Randy, and Beth, who lives in Florida – said the staff caring for him went well beyond simply assuring that he was comfortable. All of them mentioned the respect and dignity their father received, and they were all touched by the personal attention the staff afforded him.

“He was quite a character, and he loved to tell stories,” Randy said. “I think that resonated with the staff. And it resonated with him; he had a new audience he could visit with. That really gave him enjoyment in his last moments in life.”

Rob mentioned that he appreciated how accommodating the staff was to Bob’s friends and family.

“The staff went above and beyond to make sure all of Dad’s friends could come to see him here and talk to him,” he said.

While they were pleased with the care their father received, Rob, Randy and Beth said the attention and care they received from the staff stood out to them, too. It made their difficult circumstance easier to navigate.

“The nurses, when it was getting rough, were there to give a hug,” Beth said. “I felt that they were as concerned with our well-being, knowing it was the end of our father’s life, as they were with taking extraordinary care of him.”

In some ways, this experience changed their views of WMMC; in many ways, it only strengthened their opinions of what WMMC does for the residents of Johnson County and its role in this community.

“As a Florida resident, I was actually worried about my dad: Was this the best spot for him?” Beth said. “But I could not have been more pleased by the level of care that he received in Warrensburg. I’m next to some of the best teaching hospitals in the world, and I can assure you that the care he received at Western Missouri Medical Center… was absolutely exceptional.”

Randy and Rob, who live locally, said that their previous experiences with WMMC made them confident this was the best place for their father to receive care.

“I’ve always had a positive view of [WMMC] and their staff,” Randy said. “Through the years, I’ve had many encounters on my own, and I’ve had nothing but the greatest of care.”

Rob said this father used to joke that their family should have a wing named for them after all of the trips to the ER he made with them while they were growing up.

Bob spent his final days at WMMC much in the same way those closest to him remember him spending so many years before – laughing, singing, smiling, joking, and enjoying the company of those he loved.

What an honor it is to have been able to offer comfort and service to a man who so generously comforted and served so many. Thank you to the Russell family for letting us share their father’s story.