Physicians play critically important roles in keeping members of our community healthy. Their responsibilities are immense, and not all of us fully realize the amount of time and extraordinary discipline it takes for them to successfully and efficiently care for their patients while staying abreast of best medical practices.

For almost four decades before retiring, Dr. Bruce Bauknight practiced internal medicine in Victoria, and he did so before hospitalists and adequate emergency room services handled middle-of-the-night emergencies for his patients, said Dr. Anne Wagner, who covered Bauknight’s practice intermittently over the course of about 15 years while he was away.

He practiced during a time when physicians showed up day or night when their patients, whether already in the hospital or admitted at the emergency room in the midst of crises, needed them. He practiced internal medicine but also served the community as an oncologist, a geriatrician, a palliative care physician and an executive physical specialist. Bauknight was not board certified in oncology, which would have required a fellowship, but he could have been based on his knowledge, Wagner said. He never gave up on his patients, so when treatments failed, he pursued other treatments as long as they wanted them and could tolerate them.

“He was well educated on his own efforts and very well respected for his role in oncology,” she said.

Bauknight juggled his responsibilities as a physician and many others pertaining to quality health care in our community while rearing four children with his wife, Vicki Bauknight. Both are from Ganado, and he met her when he was in the fourth grade and she was a second-grader. He left a note on her mother’s car: “I love you Vicki! Do you love me?” They began dating in high school, a time when he began seriously considering becoming a physician like his father. It seems Bauknight always knew what he wanted, and the Victoria community has reaped the benefits of that vision.

Bauknight also has managed to play an active role in the Rotary Club of Victoria for many years and travel extensively while maintaining an extremely healthy exercise regimen. Although he has retired, his list of daily accomplishments reads like a full-time job.

He reads electrocardiograms remotely for three hospitals every day. He works in case management for Citizens Medical Center and helps with hospice care. He still gives numerous lectures. And for DeTar Hospital, he helps with the Texas A&M University family practice residency and cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Bauknight has set an excellent example for all of us to follow in our daily lives and a high bar for the medical community. At the Victoria Advocate, we extend our heartfelt thanks for his many years of selfless service and excellent care.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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