Dr. Gus named Distinguished West Virginian

Dr Gus
Photo Courtesy Bob Beverly, WVU Health Sciences Center

The Distinguished West Virginian Award is presented to “honor those who have contributed significantly to the state or those West Virginians who have brought positive attention to the state.”

If ever there was such a person, it is most definitely WVU Children’s Hospital’s very own Robert Gustafson, MD, better known by his patients as Dr. Gus, who received the award from West Virginia First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin during the Children’s Hospital Groundbreaking Ceremony.

Thirty years ago, Dr. Gus returned home to West Virginia to revive the pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program, becoming the only provider in the state to offer this service. In his years of service at WVU Children’s, the Keyser, WV, native has elevated the pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program to be nationally and internationally recognized for its quality of patient-centered care. Ever devoted to the children who need his help, Dr. Gus performs more than 400 procedures a year on patients from West Virginia and around the world.

In accepting the award, Dr. Gus said he was deeply honored and humbled and accepted it on behalf of all who helped him throughout his career. Specifically, he thanked the three people who helped him the most – Bill Neal, MD, former chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics; David Rosen, MD, pediatric anesthesiologist; and his wife, Kelly Gustafson, who is also his perfusionist.

He also thanked all of the parents who had the confidence in him and his team to take their children and make them whole again so they could go on to live normal lives.

In closing, he said, “I hope I’m lucky enough to still be operating here when the new tower is finished.”

Reprinted by permission from Angela S. Jones-Knopf- News Service Coordinator, WVU Healthcare and WVU Health Sciences