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Robert J. Summerer, DO, FACOS

Specialties: General Surgery
Areas of Interest: Surgical Procedures, Upper GI Endoscopy, Lower GI Endoscopy
Medical School: Des Moines University, Des Moines, Iowa

I was born in O’Neill Nebraska, but grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska. I attended college in Oklahoma, medical school in Iowa, and did further training in Missouri. I worked with the Indian Health Service for 3 years in South Dakota. After my surgical training in Iowa, I worked with the Air Force in North Dakota before coming to Madison in 1999.

I’m passionate about both rural medicine and physician wellness. I never seriously considered any other profession. I enjoy meeting each of my patients and hearing their stories. The best part of my job is when I know that we have provided the best care both physically and emotionally to our patients.

The best advice I give my patients is to listen to the advice of your physician. She or he has trained very hard and works tirelessly to keep up on the best treatments available and is likely the best resource you have to help you get or stay healthy.

To help my patients feel comfortable, as a surgeon, I must instill confidence that I will be able to tackle their particular problem. I try to be very honest and complete in my discussions with them regarding the expectations of a surgery, possible risks, and my assurance that I can perform the necessary procedure. Fortunately, I can also assure them of the excellent team of health care workers that are available here at MRHS to look after their needs while under our care, and that MRHS has state of the art equipment and facility to accomplish the tasks needed. Our patients entrust their health care to us. That is an awesome responsibility laid on our shoulders.

Outside of work, I love the world of entertainment – from music to movies to live theater. I love to travel, but when I’m home, gardening brings me satisfaction, and spending time with my family brings me joy.

I have two favorite quotes. The first is a quote from Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie, As Good As It Gets: “I’m out here drowning and you’re describing the water!” I like it because it reminds me that it’s not good enough to simply complain about a situation if one doesn’t actually take action to fix it. My other favorite quote is more like a modern day Chinese proverb.  It’s from the Monkee’s song, Daydream Believer: “The shaver razor’s cold, and it stings.” This quote reminds me that it might be uncomfortable to achieve one’s goals whether they are as mundane as preparing for the day, or as significant as taking steps to achieve a life goal. There may be pain in the process but the outcome is worth it.