Daniel Ruge: The first neurosurgeon to serve as physician to the president

A. Karim Ahmed, Eduardo Martinez-Del-Campo, Nicholas Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The role of chief White House physician has traditionally been held by an individual with a background in a broad medical field, such as emergency medicine, family medicine, or internal medicine. Dr. Daniel Ruge, who served as the director of the Spinal Cord Injury Service for the Veterans Administration and was appointed during President Ronald Reagan's first term, was the first neurosurgeon to become the chief White House physician. Aside from being the first neurosurgeon to serve in this capacity, Dr. Ruge also stands apart from others who have held this esteemed position because of how he handled Reagan's care after an attempt was made on the then-president's life. Instead of calling upon leading medical authorities of the time to care for the president, Dr. Ruge instead decided that Reagan should be treated as any trauma patient would be treated. Dr. Ruge's actions after the assassination attempt on President Reagan resulted in the rapid, smooth recovery of the then-president. Daniel Ruge's background, his high-profile roles and heavy responsibilities, and his critical decision-making are characteristics that make his role in the history of medicine and of neurosurgery unique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-317
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Volume131
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Daniel ruge
  • History
  • Physician to the president
  • Ronald Reagan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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