Returning to his roots
When Kruse decided it was time to specialize, he returned to Iowa and pursued internal medicine residency training at UI Hospitals & Clinics in 1956. Then he settled down in Marshalltown, Iowa, beginning a 35-year career serving that community.
He was known for taking his time speaking with and listening to each patient.
"Even when he stopped practicing, people would call him just to talk to him," says Kruse's daughter, Julie.
That relationship was built on Kruse’s unique abilities as a listener and confidant. He took care to speak with each of his patients not just about their symptoms, but also about their home life, work, family, and stressors. The depth of knowledge he developed about his patients made him especially skilled at making diagnoses.
“He once diagnosed a detached retina in the ER, without having to do any invasive tests,” Julie says. “One ophthalmologist in town said he was the only doctor he ever knew who could have done that.”
Kruse was also known to personally drive patients who needed specialty care to the UI Hospitals & Clinics campus.
“If they needed a smooth ride, I wanted to do it myself,” Kruse says.
Kruse’s dedication to his patients meant that he answered calls at all hours. If he was not at home, Dorothy would diligently call each medical facility where he visited patients in order to find him and relay the message. Kruse personally tended to all his patients if they were admitted to the hospital, since there were no hospitalists at the time. He also maintained a weekly schedule at the Cedar Rapids VA Clinic performing routine physicals