Friends of Caroline Hospice hires medical director

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Dr. Gordon Krueger, MD, brings experience, compassion as full-time staff member

By Wendy Pollitzer

Most members of the Beaufort health and wellness community know Dr. Gordon E. Krueger, MD, a former surgeon at Beaufort Memorial Hospital and partner with Coastal Carolina Surgical Associates.

Dr. Gordon Krueger, MD, the new medical director at Friends of Caroline Hospice.
Dr. Gordon Krueger, MD, the new medical director at Friends of Caroline Hospice.

Many, however, may not know that Dr. Krueger did not retire, but decided to benevolently continue his career in the medical profession locally. Dr. Krueger is now the medical director at Friends of Caroline Hospice, working full time as the non-profit organization’s chief physician. Friends of Caroline Hospice is one of few local hospices that employs a full-time physician dedicated to providing treatment interventions that focus on enhancing the overall comfort for terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less. And, the organization couldn’t be happier to have a long-time member of the Beaufort community join the FOCH family, which has cared for generations of Lowcountry residents since 1980.

Deborah Dailey, executive director at Friends of Caroline Hospice, explains, “Dr. Krueger is a recognized accomplished physician, and we are fortunate to have someone with his experience, knowledge and compassion as the Medical Director of Friends of Caroline Hospice. Dr. Krueger is providing valuable medical knowledge both to our staff and the patients we serve. As a Medicare-certified hospice provider, it is essential that we offer the highest quality end-of-life care to our growing patient population and Dr. Krueger is uniquely positioned to ensure that is accomplished.”

Dr. Krueger moved to Beaufort in 1989 with his wife, Nan, and three children — Katy, Matt and Mark. He was a founding partner with Dr. Tim Pierce of the Beaufort Surgery Center and devoted 35 years as a Fellow in the American College of Surgery (FACS).

In 2012, upon elected retirement, Dr. Krueger was encouraged by his colleagues to volunteer for Friends of Caroline Hospice.  It didn’t take long for Dr. Krueger to realize that working for a hospice organization was his calling at this stage in his career.

“There are difficult questions that families have when a loved one approaches end of life, and doctors, generally, are not trained to talk to patients about important decisions and options they have as their health declines. As a surgeon for decades, it is a revelation to see the difference in  patients and families when they have time to prepare a plan for end of life and fulfill goals as opposed to facing death with fear and mentally and physically exhausting the caregiver,” explains Dr. Krueger.

“People do better with choices, and it is a privilege to help them with their desired wishes. With our team of nurses, a chaplain, social workers, CNAs and volunteers, we can develop an individualized plan of care with a holistic approach,” Dr. Krueger adds.

At Friends of Caroline Hospice, costs are typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies. Individuals eligible for end of life services who cannot pay will be provided hospice care free of charge.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m going through a gated plantation or a mobile home park with plywood covering the holes in the floors, the patient’s response to being treated as a worthwhile individual who deserves quality of life while living and lack of pain while dying is very much the same. And it is gratifying to assist people in both ways,” says Dr. Krueger.

Dr. Krueger encourages patients and/or family members to call Friends of Caroline Hospice for assistance or questions about an end of life plan at 525-6257. He’d be happy to talk to you.