To view actual "Thank You" notes from patients, families,
volunteers & Presbyterian/St. Luke's staff, please
September 23, 2011
Hello Dr. Brantigan,
I am ***** ****, and I am a new rotation
coordinator with RVU. I
just wanted to let you know ***** ******* just came into my office
letting me know what an excellent experience he had with you.
And I just want to thank you for taking the time and
investing in his medical education.
I know it takes a lot of work to take on medical students and
you went above and beyond with PowerPoint’s and talking with *****.
I was just so moved with what he was telling me about your
teaching. You are making
a huge impact on our future medical providers.
Thank you for all of your dedication and hard work, it does
not go unnoticed.
Clinical Rotations Coordinator
Rocky Vista University, College of Osteopathic
Hello Dr. Brantigan,
It is 10 years since my accident and 8 ˝ months
since surgery. I thank
god every day for bringing you into my life.
Thank you for listening and hearing what I had to say.
There is no doubt that I have greatly benefited from
Have a wonderful Easter.
TOS patient from Englan
15 May 2002 I kept you up all nite because of
my ruptured esophagus.
Thank you for saving my life.
I will always be indebted to you.
The surgery was probably the easy part of my care.
Correct me if I’m mistaken but I think you cancelled a CME
meeting so you could stay in Denver and provide continuity of care
I’m still seeing patients part time in Del
Norte and enjoy listening to patients to help them solve their
I’m glad to be alive thanks to you.
Sincerely (10th Anniversary of
April 26, 2012
Dear Dr. Brantigan,
Tomorrow, April 27, 2012, will mark the one
year anniversary of when you performed my son’s redo TOS surgery.
We traveled from our home in Louisiana to meet with you in
March of 2011. Surgery
was later scheduled from April 27, 2011.
We made the trip again…and thankfully so!
I am so very grateful that you persevered once
getting inside Keno and getting started.
I know you said you almost had to just close him up because
of the ‘severity and involvement’ of his particular problem.
Dr. Brantigan…a job well done! He is now able
to do more than he has been able to in literally years…after months
of very specific physical therapy that you ordered, he improved by
leaps and bounds!
I thank God that he led us to a Doctor here in
LA, who without hesitation, highly recommended you! **** had endured
two previous surgeries for the same TOS problem in LA by a Dr.
I also thank God that you were willing, and very obviously
able, to perform ****’s 3rd surgery.
You have an extra special gift that I believe only God can
bless someone with. I am
also grateful that you heeded the calling and the gift that God
blessed you with. By
doing so, you changed my son’s life, his entire future, as well as
countless others I am sure.
My prayer is, first of all, one of thanks for
you and the way you use the skills the Lord so obviously blessed you
with and with such a humble heart.
And second, that God will continue to bless you, your family,
your health, your work, and all those who work with you and
Don’t know if you’ll think it odd that a nearly
56 year old Momma would write a letter to her nearly 30 year old
son’s Doctor, but I wanted you to know how very much I admire you,
your work, and your dedication to your work…I pray that you have
many more years ahead of you to help others the way you have helped
May God Bless You & Yours!
Dear Dr. Brantigan
I wanted to personally thank you for all of the
time you have committed to our hospital as Chairman of the
Department of Surgery.
You have been so instrumental in the success of P/SL due to your
pursuit of excellence on behalf of our patients.
It is wonderful that we have had the privilege of your
leadership in that department for so many years.
Please know that your leadership continues in
my perception, and I hope that I can continue to seek your guidance
and opinions for issues important to the future of the hospital
I just wanted to send a brief note saying
“Thank You” for all of the time & effort you extended to provide me
with such a great opportunity to learn about the world of vascular
surgery. As you joked, one
month is an insultingly brief period of time for you to teach
everything you know to a 3rd year med student, however, I
feel like I came away from the month with far more than the majority
of my classmates. I
learned some thing from every area of your practice; from the way
you conduct interviews & physical exams, manage your surgical field,
treat your staff, treat your patients, to the way you handle
conflict in a working environment, there was always something to be
learned. Thank you for
Additionally, I wanted to take this opportunity
to ask if you would be willing to write a letter of recommendation
for me. Currently I
anticipate pursuing a career in surgery and I believe a letter from
you will be quite valuable helping me get the residency that suits
me best. I anticipate
that we will cross paths again & I am looking forward to it.
Thanks again for the experiences you provided me with.
Osteopathic Medical Student
to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to learn from you last
month. It will always be
one of my most memorable months and one that created many memories
in the or that i will never forget.
Thank you for the many medical lessons you taught me,
surgical lessons, patient interaction lessons & most of all how to
be a Dr. who truly cares about his patients & has a love for
medicine. I feel very
blessed to have been able to spend an entire month w/you & know that
I will be a better physician & person for it.
I have told many people that one of the best lessons I
learned from you was from a patient that ended up not being our
patient. I probably will
never know how Miss *******’s case ended up, but the fact that you
cared enough about her to continue to follow-up each day & offer
your support was one of the most impressive acts of character & true
patient care I will ever see, & what makes it impressive is that I
know you didn’t do it just b/c you had a student following you & you
wanted to show me how medicine should be practiced, but that is just
who you are & how you practice your profession & I am sure your
life. Thank you for the
trust & confidence you showed in me in the OR, I will never forget
my last surgery w/you & you allowing me to go way beyond my
limits as a student.
That surgical debridement probably seemed extremely simple to you,
but it is a memory I will take w/me forever.
Thank you again for all you taught me, I hope we get to cross
paths again someday! be
safe in egypt!!
Osteopathic Medical Student
On this Thanksgiving Day I am trying to thank the people who helped
me get to the right place for care. This has been a long road -
again - I knew something was wrong, but had to switch Dr's - Dr.
Paul Grow is an FP who began coming to Benkelman from Imperial last
March. The cardiologist who read my 24 hr. H.M. missed my SUT - but
Dr. Grow didn't. After various meds failed, he was going to send me
to Fred Miller, but that blew up, so thus the call to you. I always
have faith that you will know what I need. "It's not what you know,
but who you know" That rings true for me! Dr. Sellers was a man of
few words, but he gained my trust right away. I hope you got a copy
of his report. My heartfelt thanks to you my good friend.
God Bless you & yours.
Sincerely, Deb Stute
I just figured I would drop you a line to let you know how things
are going. Yesterday I did my longest ride in almost a year and a
half, 23 miles. It felt great to hammer again and be able to ride
without my hands going numb and my arms and shoulders killing me. I
have been riding quite a lot lately but yesterday was the first time
I tried to do some actual long mileage. To say I am happy with the
results so far would be a huge understatement.
As far as my recovery I have hit a few speed bumps but overall
things are progressing well. It seems sometimes the muscles don't
want to cooperate and they get a bit painful if the knots are not
massaged out at PT. I guess that's normal considering how weak they
were allowed to get.
My lawyer contacted me (finally) to fill me in on what's going on
with my case and to get some more info from me. He told me that they
are making arrangements to get a deposition from you, the PT
therapists, and everyone else pertinent to my case so I guess things
might start moving along here after 2 years.
I have a question to ask you since no one else can come up with an
answer for me. Today I underwent an abbreviated physical capacity
evaluation by my therapist because my LTD requested it. My therapist
went real easy on me because he knows what stage I am at with my PT
strengthening. I was able to complete the test up to 30 pounds at
which he did not feel comfortable going any higher weight wise.
Anyway, I had asked him what happens in cases like mine where I was
able to pass the CPE back when I had full blown TOS and am sure I
can pass it again now that the problems have been addressed. How
does the insurance handle cases like mine? He was not sure but he
did mention that people who have rotator cuff injuries are in the
same boat. They can do small amounts of higher intensity labor, but
if done regularly they will re-injure themselves. Any advice on this
would be helpful, as the last thing I want to be told is that I am
100% capable to resume my job as an auto mechanic when I very well
may never be capable of this sort of work.
Regardless of the outcome of all of this, I plan on going back to
school, hopefully starting this winter. I'll probably take something
computer related as that's something I have enjoyed as a hobby for a
long time. I might as well make a profession out of it since I need
to find a new one anyway. :)
Finally, I just want to thank you again for giving me my life back.
I hope you enjoy the upcoming ski season, hopefully next year Kim
and I will be able to go out there and snowboard. Oh yea, one more
thing...VOTE BUSH!! Hehe ;)
From air evacuated to our care in extremis:
Not a day goes by that I don't thank you for saving my life. I
hope you get some sleep this 15th of May [first anniversary]....Each
day I count as a blessing--thanks to you. G... and I stopped by your
roundhouse recently. Very interesting history. Thank you for letting
me enjoy the great world around us.
From a patient Dr Brantigan came down from the mountains to see
in the Intensive Care Unit when he was not on call.
Mrs. Charles Brantigan,
I would like to apologize as I am the patient who broke into your
week end of skiing about the 14th of November. I understand your
disappointment as I had to leave my family many times while working
on the Rail Road. I was called to go to Rock Slides, Derailments,
Wash outs etc many times. [this note was accompanied by a nice hand
carved gift, and this man, a true participant in Colorado history
From a fellow surgeon who heard of the break up of the Vascular
Institute of the Rockies
Subject: life its own self
"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have. and it may never be enough. Give
your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was
between you and them anyway."
That is attributed to Mother Teresa, but I've been told it was
written for a high school commencement address. (I choose to believe
the latter.) It's on a poster framed beside the desk in my office. I
often am reminded of you when I read it.
If I have succeeded at all in being kinder, harder working, more
generous, and serving some good beyond myself, it is because I have
watched people like you do it so religiously for so many years. You
are and have always been a giant in our profession and in the Denver
community, in my mind; and even now I judge my performance by the
yardstick of your integrity and your sense of service.
I wonder why so many heroes of the western world are cut down by
associates and followers? For someone who has no sense of global
responsibility and mission, it must be threatening to work closely
with one who does have it.
In music, in medicine, in marriage, in creating your practice, in
community service, you have always inspired me by your genius in
remodeling your world to be a better place. I do not know how your
present challenge will be met, but I have no doubt it, too, will
increase your stature and presence, at least to those of us who
truly see you.
Don't let the bastards get you down!
I know in the past I have thanked you for the many things you
have done for me. For giving me back a life, but most of all for
saving my life!! But I don't think I can ever thank you enough for
having the type of influence you have had on my children and
especially my daughter! So you see, your work goes MUCH beyond the
"doctor" things you do!! By the way, Amy told me to tell you to not
retire until she has a chance to work with you!
One of the neurosurgeons I worked with once told me that,
becoming a doctor is not really a decision one makes. It is in you
to do it or it is not. That the true measure of a great doctor is
one that would be willing to do their job without getting paid. That
the difference between a "doctor" and a "great doctor" is that the
great doctor makes the best of every challenge & learns from the
lesson it had to teach. It think that is why you are such a great
From a rural physician
Many summers have passed since we mutually crossed paths at Denver
General Hospital. I have not forgotten one of the most intelligent
and dedicated physicians on the trail.
�It�s been almost 3 years since I have had my rib resection
surgeries to fix my TOS. I just realized that I have not sent anyone
an update on how I have fared in quite a long time. Well, the short
answer is I�m doing great. I have no symptoms at all. If not for the
two light scars under my arms I wouldn�t have anything to remind me
of how bad I was before Dr. B fixed me. Since the surgeries I have
gone on to enjoy a normal life.� �The most important part of my
being fixed though is that I have been able to ride my bicycles.
Riding is great. I have no hand tingling, shoulder pain, stiff neck
like I used to get. Even mountain biking is not a problem for me.�
Vascular Surgeon in another state
�Thanks so much for your recent communication on my patient
-congratulations! I think you work wonders and we are all glad for
your expertise. I�m a little envious but I know that your expertise
did not come at an easy price and I�m very respectful of that. I
just wish you weren�t so far away. Thanks again.�
Patient with failed vascular operation done elsewhere
�I am doing as well as can be expected. Thanks to you. I do believe
the only reason I am here is because of your expertise and caring.
Thank you so much.�
Patient referred for thoracic outlet surgery whose problem was
not thoracic outlet syndrome
�Thank you again for interceding on my behalf in regard to the
problem with my cervical spine.� �I am still recovering from the
shock of discovering that my symptoms were, in fact, very clear, and
the knowledge that I must now have another spine surgery.� �I have a
diagnosis only because you went out of your way to help me, when I
was not even a patient of yours. I had nightmares every night for
months before I went to Denver, and struggled every day with
feelings of despair. It was only when I knew what was wrong with me
that I was able to sleep through the night again. You have restored
my faith in the medical profession�
�There are not adequate words to thank someone for saving your life,
or for saving the life of someone you love. We owe so much to you.
When our Dr. spoke to you on the telephone, describing her
condition, you moved quickly to arrange for the helicopter to
transport her to P/SL, and even though it was late on Sunday night,
you were there when the flight arrived and took her to surgery
immediately, and were there to examine her again Monday morning. We
have no doubt, from my observation and from talking to the
physicians at home, that she would not have lived much longer had
you not taken control of her care. Yes, she lost her leg but she has
her life, and I cannot tell you how grateful we both are for that.
Neither of us has ever met another physician that is so committed to
the care of his patients. We know that you came to the hospital
early one morning to stop bleeding, and were called early another
morning because she had a fever. I also want to mention your caring
attitude in removing her breathing tube when she became alert and
was frantic to have it out.�
�I just wanted to thank you for all you have done for my mother. I
know she is alive today because of you. I don�t know what miracle
you also worked on the medical bills, I was very concerned � but
they have been very small. Thought you might like to know that she
is having a lot of fun enjoying all the activities at her retirement
home. I can hardly ever reach her during the day because she is so
busy. Words just don�t seem enough, but THANK YOU so very very much
for all that you have done"
Vascular surgeon from another community
�I just visited and examined my patient and all I can say is �Wow!�
What a difference. She is smiling, not having any pain, has nearly a
full range of motion on that side and after I checked her over a
little bit, we got to sit and talk and I�m very impressed. Her wound
is well healed. The only thing she can�t do is fully extend that
left upper extremity straight up but she certainly does get it up in
the air with just a little bit of bend of the elbow. She states that
the winging of her scapula is coming along just fine it still does
wing and she is avoiding all of the things that you asked her to not
do I think.�
�Physically I�m doing great. As a matter of fact, the only thing
that lets me know that I even had TOS is the two faded scars under
each arm. I have no symptoms what-so-ever at this point and I am
coming up on 2 years post op on the left and about 1.5 years on the
right. I did get some muscle cramps in the back and upper arm area
last summer but I expected some side effects and I did up my cycling
mileage and overall activity by a HUGE amount.� :P.S. I forgot to
mention that after 5 years of not playing I picked up my electric
bass again. I have played guitar and bass since I was 17 but I had
figured that with having TOS I�d never play again, but it has been
no problem. I was surprised how quickly it all came back. Playing
has always helped eliminate stress and I think it�s also helped
strengthen my hands and arm muscles as well. I have even been
thinking of maybe joining a band again."
�Thank you so much for all you have done for me this past year. It
seems I am always thanking you for doing something! Don�t know if
that is a good thing or not! I do know that without you for a
doctor, I would not be here today, or at the very least, be able to
enjoy like the best I can. Life is way to short the way it is, so we
all need to make the best of it! I�m not sure how you do it, but you
have the ability to read people and give them what they need when
they need it. I still laugh when I tell people some of the funny
things you have said to me while I was in the hospital. I tell them
that you have this way of making things seem not so bad for the
patient, when the patient is felling bad! Like this past fall when I
emailed you complaining of not seeing a doctor all day, and the next
morning you came in my room yelling, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH! I almost
fell off my bed laughing! It was just what I needed!�
�I would like to express my gratitude to you for your help in
treating me for recurrent thoracic outlet syndrome. After spending
two years of diagnostic studies at a large university in southern
California, I was frustrated with the lack of treatment. I was told
by the university vascular surgeons there that I was a complicated
case and that surgery was too risky. Recently, I came to Denver to
meet with another vascular surgeon. As you know, after meeting with
him, I felt that the surgery proposed was too radical. In addition
to the magnitude of the surgery advised, there was no literature
about the surgery, no follow-up results and no written procedure
description to review in order for me to better understand the
procedure. After deciding against this major surgery, I called your
office. Your staff kindly worked me in quickly to see you before I
was scheduled to fly home two days later. I found your manner of
obtaining my medical history was interesting and thorough. Also, you
performed a lengthy physical exam. After undergoing the 3D CT scan
you requested, your office staff again helped me with scheduling
surgery in hopes of reducing the painful symptoms I have been
experiencing for years. You were willing to help me although other
local TOS experts said it was too complicated and risky. Surgery at
PSL hospital went without a hitch and the nursing care at the
hospital was terrific!�
�I cannot believe it, but yesterday was the one-year anniversary of
when you began to give me my life back. One year ago today, I was in
PSL recuperating from surgery, being extremely optimistic about my
future because I knew that I had just given myself the best chance
at regaining at least some semblance of my old life. Since then, I
have come back for the other side and have continued on with the
rest of my life. Things are not perfect, but they are so much better
than I could have ever imagined. I have just completed my first
semester of student teaching, having truly enjoyed myself. Also, I
proved to myself and all around me that this is something I can and
should do. I have received many great compliments throughout this
experience and have sent you, as an attachment, my proudest
achievement; a glowing observation from my building principal who
told me he could see me in one of his classrooms in the fall.�
Teenager with thoracic outlet syndrome
�Hey Dr. Brantigan what�s going on? I just had my last gym call
today�I�m doing very good in physical activities although I couldn�t
get the Presidential Fitness Award because I didn�t have enough time
to make it up. I also had therapy today�and I only have 1 more to go
probably. We only have 5 more days of school and they are all half
days�I can�t wait till its finally over. Ha-ha I�m doing very good
with my arm and I can pretty much lift it straight up and down. Well
I have to go. Write back!�
Teenager with thoracic outlet syndrome
�Hey Dr B, this is ***�I�ve wanted to keep in touch ever since I
left Denver�but I�ve been so busy lately that I couldn�t find the
time to write to you. My arm is doing great, I can almost lift it
straight over my head. Therapy is going good also. My therapist said
that I might only have to be on therapy form a month�but he also
said I have horrible posture. I really miss Colorado a lot, I wish I
could still be there�it was so much fun. I hope you got the picture
of the two of us that my mom sent. Don�t we look good? Ha-ha.
Whenever I think about you the picture that comes to mind is your
Denver Brass picture where you are wearing the shades. (The picture
of you when you were near the 1956 Buick) Well I have to go eat
dinner now�please keep in touch.�
�In the course of our lives there are certain people who play a
special role in our destiny. I�m glad our destiny brought us to
�I think back 2 years ago when you and Dave did my surgery. I think
about all that I have been able to do since then, and I thank God
each day for you and him and everyone in that OR. (The Bishop, when
he is in town for a visit, says a special prayer for all of you and
gives a blessing.) Also for having faith in me when I wanted you to
go back into my chest for that �clot�. I�ll never forget the look on
your face when I told you that�s what I wanted you to do. I think
that�s what hit me this morning when I got so emotional. You had
said something I think, about if things don�t look right you look
for outside factors and apply them to your thinking. Then something
about giving merit to what others say and looking at that side of it
too. Well, I think you know what I mean.�
� Thanks for all of your efforts on my behalf of our father. We all
appreciated your honest assessment of his condition on Sunday. I
spent some time last night on your web site, and found it most
interesting. I was extolling your efforts at work all day. Some how
I have to believe your taking up the case was providential.
Hopefully we can all make it to your April 30/May 1 concert. Thanks
again and God Bless you and all your efforts�
�Thank you for your optimism and determination with the surgery on
my Dad. I DID work out the way you thought! God Bless you with many
more years to help families like ours. Thank you again.�
�At the concert where we met backstage, Kathy told me that Chuck
could be excused from rehearsals but not concerts. Thankfully there
was no concert 3 years ago tonight or I wouldn�t be writing this
note. The more time that passes, the more I appreciate the countless
hours you spent keeping me alive. Before I ruptured my esophagus I
thought I had a great appreciation for life. Now I am grateful for
each and every day.� �Three things stood out at the 19 March
concert. The music was superb; daughter didn�t realize that Dr.
Brantigan was in the band. She was emotionally overwhelmed when the
curtains opened and immediately recognized the Doctor who saved her
Dad�s life; although my view of Kathy was blocked by Ken Singleton I
frequently saw Chuck turn towards Kathy and smile at Kathy with his
�I made my choice to use your services because you have integrity
and you have always treated me honestly. You seem to be the only TOS
Doc in the country that has patients that get better and can return
to a normal life � or as close to it as possible. I plan on this
happening for me and I know that you do too.�