Doctor serves American heroes over 20 years

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amanda Stanford
  • 59th Medical Wing

The span of military care covers all ages focusing on exceptional patient care.

Dr. Robert Kruger, geriatric internal medicine physician, has made a career out of ensuring geriatric patients at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center have an optimal experience during their visit.

 “I came in the Air Force in 1974 as an Airman and worked in the medical lab for an enlistment,” Kruger said. “I got out, went to school and came back as a medical lab officer for eight years, before getting the chance to go to medical school.”  

After medical school, Kruger completed his internship and residency at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, and a geriatric fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Upon completion, Kruger began his geriatric internal medicine career at Wilford Hall in 1997.

Despite retiring from active duty as a lieutenant colonel in 2005, he continues serving his patients as a civilian healthcare provider and impacting many lives.

 “When my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's dementia in 2011, we met with [Dr. Kruger] several times. He was compassionate and understanding,” retired Senior Master Sgt. Lothar Harris said. “Dr. Kruger explained the changes that would take place and made recommendations on how to improve her quality of life.”

Kruger’s great patient care extends to all those around him to include providing care to a colleague who had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

“He has a concern and kindness like no other with his geriatrics patients,” Nancy William-Sykes explained. “I was blessed beyond measure to have been under his care and give him much of the credit for the continuation of my good life.”  

Serving veterans, retirees, and beneficiaries Kruger exemplifies the meaning of patient-centered care.

“In the military family, we take care of each other,” Kruger said. “I get to take care of people who have done amazing things for their country, people who have fought through World War II, and all the other wars. They’ve faced challenges that we don’t face today. I’m honored to be taking care of our American heroes and their families.”

Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center houses two of the three geriatric internal medicine physicians in the Air Force who are both triple board certified physicians in internal medicine, geriatric medicine and palliative medicine. 

“It is very interesting taking care of the older population because they have unique needs,” Kruger said. “People are living longer. It is our job to make sure they live as long as they can and have good quality of life.”