Dr. Paul Reckard

Jan. 18, 2021
Dr. Paul Reckard pauses in a hallway at UCHealth Memorial Central. He’s wearing a sweater similar to one he gave a patient. Photo by Tom Hutton, UCHealth

Surgeon shares sweater, memories

When the elderly patient lifted her arm, pointed to his UCHealth logo-emblazoned red-striped gray fleece sweater and complimented him on it, Dr. Paul Reckard didn’t respond with a simple, customary “thank you.”

Instead, within moments, the general and trauma surgeon who serves as senior medical director for perioperative services at UCHealth Memorial Hospital, truly gave the shirt off his back, peeling the sweater from his shoulders and placing it around hers.

It was, “the right thing to do,” said the veteran surgeon.

Reckard was covering the Intensive Care Unit that mid-November week. He could see the patient’s surgery went well but knew the patient’s other health issues made her condition dire. As the patient’s daughter arrived to be with her mother and Thanksgiving neared, the trio bonded over their mutual connections to the upper Midwest. Reckard attended the University of Minnesota and practiced in Green Bay, Wisconsin, before moving to Colorado Springs in 2013.

Perhaps it was the memories of frigid northern winters that prompted Reckard’s actions. Or maybe it was the realization that he wouldn’t be traveling to see his own mother for Thanksgiving as COVID-19 outbreaks swept through rural communities.

“I really didn’t think much about it,” said Reckard. “It’s all about the patient and doing whatever we can to help them. This was a small action that I was glad to be able to do for her.”

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About the author

Tom Hutton is a veteran communications professional who enjoys making complex subjects relatable to people from all walks of life. Prior to joining UCHealth in 2019, he taught and led public communications at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Previously, he led communications at the University of Kansas and was a reporter and manager for newspapers in Kansas, Iowa and California. In these roles, he earned recognition from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the University of Colorado and various press associations.

Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from KU and a master’s degree in public administration from CU. He enjoys college sports, vintage cars, cooking Kansas City-style barbeques, skiing and hiking.

He and his wife Julie have two daughters and a son.