Trautloff receives Legends Award

NEW ULM – Not even a degenerative spinal condition can keep a New Ulm doctor from making a positive difference in people’s lives with his skill, talent and passion for medicine and humanity.

New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) President Toby Freier announced that Dr. Robert Trautloff will receive the 2013 Legends Award, given to those who inspire others to achieve great things, are admired for their skill and talent, and of whom great stories are told.

Trautloff received five nominations for the award from NUMC staff. He practiced internal medicine with the Physicians Group of New Ulm from December 2001 to August 2006 before a crippling, degenerative spinal condition resulted in ruptured discs and multiple operations.

He continues to serve humanity via an online global health ministry sponsored by California-based Saddleback Church, supporting Rwandan doctors and patients via Skype from his home.

“He is legendary not because of the time he worked here, but because of the positive impact that he made on patient care and interpersonal relationships with staff. He is very intelligent with a great sense of humor and isn’t afraid to use them both,” a NUMC employee wrote in a nomination letter.

Other nominations cited Trautloff’s background in education and nursing displayed in his interaction with staff, patients and community, and for taking time to fully explain tests, procedures and medications.

“I learned more from him in a few months than I learned in all my schooling,” a nomination read. “He had an unbelievable knack at questioning you about a treatment, diagnosis and was able to make it a teaching moment. Instead of leaving you feeling intimidated by questions, he made you feel confident in yourself. His love for medicine was infectious. His desire to pass that passion on to others was evident in every interaction he had.”

“Many individuals are blessed with talent, gifts and experiences, but not all choose to use them to make a difference in the lives of others,” Freier said. “Thank you Dr. Trautloff for your contributions to improve the health of the patients you cared for, but also for investing in the people you worked with-your genuine interest in caring for and improving the team around you will live on for years to come.”

A nurse said she became a better nurse and model car fan because of Trautloff.

“I can’t tell you how much I miss you guys. My work here was my heart and soul,” Trautloff said at the NUMC gathering. “I’ve seen lots of programs expand since I began here. This medical center truly cares about people and medicine, more so than at some other facilities I’ve worked for.”

“My patients tell me they miss you too,” a doctor said.

“You taught us so much about diabetes and heart disease. You were ahead of your time. Since then, related programs have started and grown,” said Dr. Charles Stephens.

Freier presented Trautloff’s wife Kris with a bouquet of flowers for her support. Trautloff and his family and friends will be the subject of a formal celebration at the annual medical center board meeting, Thursday, Dec. 19.

Prior Legends Award recipients were Harold Fenske; Dr. L.A. Fritsche & Sons; Marlys Zetah, RN; Dr. Howard Vogel; Cleo Bolduan, LPN; Sister Nola Weiner; doctors O.J. Seifert, Milton Kaiser, Kenneth Dirlam, Larry Ringhofer and Frank Carthey; Mary Johanneck, LPN; Connie Peterson, Evie Hacker and Ruth Wold, RN; and the Rev. Alexander Berghold.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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