Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | May 12, 2020

Former Duke Nurse Gifts Pin to Nurse Who Cared for His Father

To recognize the compassionate care provided to his father, a former Duke nurse found a unique way to honor a Duke Raleigh Hospital nurse.

“I was trying to figure out a way I could recognize her quicker than normal,” said the former Duke nurse Henri Zevin. “And writing to her manager was something that I wanted to do, but I also knew that it had to contain something else.”

Henri Zevin wrote a letter to Vreeland’s manager, and attached a pin to it that he was awarded while working as a nurse at Duke.

“Although this letter is not about me, it is my previous experience at Duke that has prompted me to write to you about one of your nurses, Ms. Carolyn Vreeland,” wrote Henri Zevin in the letter.

Zevin’s father, Dr. Perry Zevin was admitted to Duke Raleigh Hospital in March 2020 after suffering a collapsed lung. Several days later, following surgery, he passed away.

Dr. Perry Zevin and his family.

While Dr. Zevin was at Duke Raleigh Hospital, Carolyn Vreeland, RN, BSN, cared for him and coordinated multiple phone calls and video chats with Dr. Zevin and his family.

To minimize the spread of COVID-19, Duke Raleigh Hospital is under visitor restrictions. However, Vreeland worked with hospital leadership and Henri Zevin to make an exception for Dr. Zevin’s wife and daughter to visit before surgery.

“I called management and said we have this 90 year old man, and all he’s asking to do is see his wife,” said Vreeland. “I think it’s only fair to let her come in and see him.”

After the surgery, Dr. Zevin was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit where he later passed away.

In the weeks following Dr. Zevin’s death, Kelsey Bergstedt, MSN, RN, CMSRN, NE-BC, the Nurse Manager of Operations and Vreeland’s manager, surprised her with the pin and read Henri Zevin’s letter out loud in front of their team.

Carolyn Vreeland, RN, BSN with Chief Nursing Officer Priscilla Ramseur, DNP, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC and Hospital President Dr. David Zaas.

“Carolyn is the perfect example of the human side of caring, and the human side of nursing,” said Bergstedt. “Frontline nursing, it is more than just your 12-hour shift and you go home. We’re making impressions on people and it matters.”

For Vreeland, the three days she spent with Dr. Zevin will stay with her forever.

“What I’ll remember is how powerful those three days were, how they impacted not only their family, but myself,” said Vreeland. “And I get to keep that.”

Although this is a difficult time for the Henri Zevin and his family, the care his father received at Duke Raleigh Hospital is helping him heal.

“Having my nursing background gives me a sort of peace,” said Henri Zevin. “He was given the best possible chances, and he would have only been given the best possible chances, I believe, at Duke.”

This story is among the features showcasing our Duke Raleigh Hospital nursing team in honor of National Nurses Week (May 6 to May 12).


  1. Congratulations, Carolyn, this is quite an honor for you! and not surprising, knowing you, You are a terrific caring Nurse!

  2. What a lovely way to honor you in how you treat all of your patients everyday. I know firsthand what a great advocate you are for your patients and their family members. You’re an excellent nurse!

  3. Hi Carolyn, I was so happy you received and deserved to get the thanks and acknowledgement for taking such good care of Dr. Perry Zevin for his family. I am not a family member, but he was my childrens pediatrician many years ago. He was the most down to earth and caring doctor. My children were devastated when he retired. He took such good care of my family and never rushed our appts. And now was his turn to be treated in the same manner and I believe his angel sent him to you. If you ever speak to his family, please send them our sympathy and hope they are doing well now. Congratulations again!

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