Written by Mary Scott
Photographed by Shane O’Donnell
The Campbell family’s relationship with Torrance Memorial Medical
Center spans decades, but it was Paul Campbell’s trip to the emergency
department that got the family involved with the Patrons program.
Jim Campbell and his son-in-law Paul built their relationship around technology.
Paul was part of the Silicon Valley revolution and Jim worked with some
of the biggest names in the industry—IBM and Xerox. The two were
not only colleagues but also really good friends. “We had great
mutual respect for one another,” Paul says. “I really looked
up to Jim as a father figure.”
Jim knew Paul would hit it off with his daughter Cindy, an investment banker
on Wall Street; so when Paul needed to travel to New York on business
23 years ago, Jim arranged a meeting. After six dates, Paul proposed on
Cindy’s birthday in 1995. “The last 23 years have by far been
the best 23 years of my life,” Paul says.
After 21 years in Northern California, Hawaii and Dallas, the couple and
their two teenagers moved to Cindy’s hometown, Palos Verdes Estates.
While looking at real estate and putting together a transition plan for
their move, Paul found himself in the emergency room—but not Torrance
“I was actually at another institution, fearing for my life,”
he remembers. He called his father-in-law. “Jim told me, ‘Get
in a taxi and get over to Torrance.’ Which I did.”
Everything turned out fine, and the experience left a great impression
on Paul. He was struck by the superb medical care and TLC he received
in Torrance Memorial’s emergency department. “In emergency
rooms you’re dealing with impossibly difficult situations—people
were positive, upbeat; people were courteous.” Shortly after that,
Paul and Cindy became hospital Patrons.
Putting Patients First
Earlier this year Paul joined the Torrance Memorial Foundation board, where
he’s helping to raise funds for the medical center. From this position,
he has an up-close and personal view of the entire organization. He sees
a consistency of values permeating everywhere from the administration
to the doctors and nurses.
“Every staff person you encounter is really doing the utmost to put
the patient’s interest first,” he says. “And there’s
real cohesion around the sense of mission, which is to create a positive
environment that enables people to heal, not just physically but also
emotionally and psychologically.”
Of course once Paul joined the board, he began talking to Jim and Marie,
Jim’s wife of 11 years, about joining him and Cindy in their support,
by becoming Patrons as well. “Becoming a Patron at Torrance is a
way to contribute to an organization that is really making a positive
impact on the world. You wake up in the morning knowing you’re making
a difference in people’s lives.”
Marie and Jim Campbell
Jim and Marie didn’t need much convincing.
“I’ve been a customer of this wonderful hospital since 1970,”
Jim says. “I had a family of four daughters and, of course, our
family used all of their services as needed.”
When Jim first moved to Palos Verdes 48 years ago, it was to set up a new
business for Xerox. Being on the cutting edge of computer technology at
the time, he wasn’t sure that was going to work. His daughter Nancy,
who was in the eighth grade and had already attended 12 schools, made
a request of her father: to make it work and stay in town so she could
finish high school in Palos Verdes. “I told her I’d do my
Jim was successful and fulfilled his daughter’s request. The family
established deep roots in the community, and Torrance Memorial became
Marie’s experience, however, dates back much further. She was employed
by the hospital at its original location in old Torrance 70 years ago,
when it offered just 41 beds. She worked for three years in administration,
doing everything from processing the mail to admitting patients. Marie
has also been a patient.
“We have been long and loyal patrons to the hospital in a number
of ways,” Jim explains. “We’ve been there on the receiving
end, so at this point we want to give back.”
Because of loyal supporters like the Campbells, Torrance Memorial has grown
from those original 41 beds to more than 500. Today the medical center
has an extensive and integrated system of physicians and comprehensive
medical services that provide residents of the South Bay with complete
care and treatment.
Cedars-Sinai Affiliation Will Enhance Access
Just recently Torrance Memorial announced its affiliation with Cedars-Sinai
Medical Center, a Los Angeles hospital renowned for its medical research.
This affiliation will bring more expertise in the areas of neuroscience,
cancer and heart failure to the South Bay and enhance health care access
for its residents.
“That’s a terrific, terrific, terrific step into the future
for everyone associated with the Torrance Memorial Medical Center family,”
Paul says. “Because now we can combine all the strengths of Torrance,
all the research protocols with all the special areas of care that Cedars-Sinai
provides seamlessly. I don’t think there’s any better medical
care in the world that one could access.”
The entire Campbell family says they have been fortunate and blessed in
their lives. Despite visits to the emergency department here and there,
they have their health. They have also had successful careers and love
every aspect of the community in which they live—particularly their hospital.
The more the family learns about Torrance Memorial and its staff’s
sincerity and treatment of patients regardless of their ability to afford
care, the more the family is impressed. Paul adds, “What a phenomenal
resource we have in our community and how blessed we are to support it.”