Dr. James Bruce named WellStar West Georgia Medical Center’s 2017 Physician of the Year

Dr. James “Jim” Bruce has been honored as Well-Star West Georgia Medical Center’s 2017 Physician of the Year for his more than 35 years of service to his patients, the hospital and the community.

Dr. Bruce chose to practice medicine in LaGrange, after serving a summer externship under the guidance of Doctors Robert Copeland, Julian Duttera and Jay Geisler, while a student at Duke University School of Medicine. “He has spent as much time taking care of patients as he has sharing his expertise as a physician to improving patient safety in the hospital and volunteering to help others,” said Mike Patton, chairman of the West Georgia Medical Center Board of Trustees, as he announced Dr. Bruce’s selection as Physician of the Year.

“His role on the hospital’s performance improvement committee for 18 years, seven of those as chairman, demonstrates his commitment to providing safe, quality patient care,” said one of Dr. Bruce’s colleagues who nominated him.

Dr. Bruce is an orthopedic surgeon at Emory of La-Grange. He graduated from Auburn University and Duke University School of Medicine. He did his postgraduate training at the University of Virginia Medical School, where he was chief resident from 1981-1982. He joined the medical staff at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center in 1982. He completed a fellowship in hand surgery and sports medicine in 1989.

He holds professional memberships in the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, American College of Surgeons, Georgia Orthopedic Society, Medical Association of Georgia, Troup County Medical Society and the Southern Medical Association.

“Besides practicing medicine, he lives to serve others here in our community by providing fee athletic physicals to middle and high school students and serving as the team physician for LaGrange College,” said one of the nominators. “Many of those players have gone on to play professional ball and they have commented on how much those free screenings meant to them and their families. He also helps take care of people he doesn’t even know, who live thousands of miles from here through his work as a medical volunteer with Faith in Practice Mission in Guatemala. He pays for his own transportation, and donates medical supplies and his expertise to perform surgeries.”

“Dr. Bruce joins a group of distinguished doctors who go above and beyond in their profession and in their commuity,” said Jerry Fulks, President of WellStar WGMC. “He is known throughout the hospital as the “safety doc,” for his focus on implementing patient safety measures.”

The award, given annually since 2007, recognizes an outstanding physician whose contributions have made a significant impact on patient care, the medical staff and Well Star West Georgia Medical Center.

An anonymous selection committee composed of a multidisciplinary team of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center employees reviews the blind nominations for the honor.

Past recipients of West Georgia Medical Center’s Physician of the Year are Dr. James Brennan, Dr. Julian Duttera, Dr. Sandy Simmons, Dr. Richard Ingram, Dr. David Martin, Dr. Robert Copeland, Dr. Ken Horlander, Dr. Jay Giesler, Dr. Robert Coggins and Dr. Rod Duraski.

Dr. Bruce and his wife Debbie are the parents of Dr. Jaime Elizabeth Bruce and Taylor Bruce, and his wife Robin. They have three grandchildren and are expecting a fourth in May.