Bradley Ruben, D.O. — Lifetime Achievement in Healthcare Award
For the first 20 years of his career, Dr. Bradley Ruben served as a Navy flight surgeon, a cardiac and neonatal cardiac anesthesiologist, a critical care specialist, and a University of Miami Medical School instructor. He used all the skills and experience he gained from those jobs in his 25-year family medicine practice in Citrus County. Even after his “not quite” retirement, he still uses his knowledge and experience to help area residents.
Ruben was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement in Healthcare Award by a former patient.
“Dr. Ruben was my doctor for 25 plus years and always went out of his way to help me, even when I had no insurance and little or no money,” the nomination said. “Most doctors would have given up on me, but he never did. I paid what I could, and he kept me going through some very difficult and painful times. It also impressed me how, through the multiple times I was in the hospital for one surgery or another, he always found time to come and see me even though he didn’t have to.
“Even to run into him on the street, he was always happy to see me with a big smile and a warm hug. I’ve known many people for a lot longer and I doubt they would do as much for me as he has through the years. He is definitely one of the kindest people I have ever met.”
The Healthcare Heroes award judges concurred.
“Even though he’s retired, he’s still involved, doing work for Citrus Memorial and on the board with HPH Hospice and Nature Coast EMS,” said one judge. “He’s got a great heart.”
Ruben followed in his father’s footsteps when he became a doctor and found that caring for people truly was his calling.
“It’s great taking care of people, being part of their lives. With my background, I’ve been able to work through the system to make sure my patients got the care and treatment they needed,” he said.
He completed medical school in 1970. Soon after, he was drafted in the country’s last doctor’s draft. He chose the Navy, completed its flight surgeon program, learned to fly, and spent six years serving his country. Next came a residency in anesthesia at the University of Miami, then a fellowship in cardiac anesthesia. He worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami until 1991 as a critical care specialist, then director of a neurosurgery intensive care unit and director of a surgical intensive care unit. He co-authored a textbook on critical care medicine.
After a few years in private practice in South Florida, Ruben and his wife, Pamela, were looking for a different place to raise their three sons. He accepted a position at Seven Rivers Hospital, in the emerging specialty of hospitalist in 1994. Soon after, he became board certified in Family Medicine and started a private practice, first with Meadowcrest Family Physicians, then in his own practice in Citrus Hills.
“I loved Miami but didn’t want to raise my boys there,” he said. “Moving to Citrus County was the best thing for us. They got great educations in the school system here and we were able to be involved. It’s been a great experience. This has been home for us.”
Ruben cared for patients from all walks of life and with a wide variety of medical problems. He has seen tremendous advances in medicine during his career.
“The most amazing thing to me is that if you are born today you have a one-in-three chance of living past 100 — not because of lifestyle or diet, but because of modern medicine,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, valvular heart disease was a death sentence. Now people get stents and do fine. Then there’s the number of medications for hypertension, diabetes and other diseases. There’s been an explosion in care and what’s available in care.”
His compassion and dedication to healthcare inspired him to become involved with other organizations. He has served on the board of Nature Coast EMS since its inception and has been a board member for HPH Hospice. He helped develop Nature Coast EMS’s Community Paramedic Program, which works to reduce the number of hospitalizations from falls among elderly residents.
“I’m proud that I’ve been involved with these two amazing organizations,” he said. “Nature Coast EMS serves the community so well. With HPH Hospice and Hospice of Citrus County, our county has almost 98 percent hospice availability — there’s nowhere else in the state where you have that much hospice care.”
Although he is now retired, Ruben continues to “keep his hands in.” He works as a consultant with Citrus Memorial Hospital’s case managers, reviewing patient records and speaking with insurance companies to make sure patients get appropriate care. Along with Nature Coast EMS, he also serves on the Well Florida Council and with the Citrus County Public Health Department.
“I like to keep busy,” he said. “I want to keep helping people.”