GORDON DUFF: OUTSTANDING VA PSYCHIATRIST, DR. PHILLIP KROLL RETIRES

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THERE COULDN’T HAVE BEEN A BETTER PERSON SERVING AMERICA’S VETERANS…

By Gordon Duff Senior Editor

I have no idea how many years Dr. Kroll worked for the VA.  I knew him for at least 5 years or more.  I suspect being a VA “shrink” is a thankless job, so I am taking this opportunity to correct that to the extent I can.  I have never met a better person nor a more dedicated professional in my life.  Were it not for him, I could never have walked into a VA facility.  Yes, there are lots of excellent people there but this was different.  This is a guy who put himself “out there” for his patients, all day, every day. 

I live and work in a world where cynicism becomes an almost fatal disease.  Investigative journalism is a combination of overwhelming information, like drowning in a cesspool.  However, compared to the work of taking care of dozens, even hundreds of veterans, dealing with disastrous lives, overwhelming depression, anger and isolation, what I do is nothing.  Basic human decency, decency in the face of so much suffering and apathy would normally be something impossible to bring do the workplace every day.  Kroll brought his decency, that and energy and more than that, patience.  There are certainly days I would have hit me over the head with a chair.

I could say more, much more but he wouldn’t want to see it.  Psychiatry is a profession even more dangerous than combat infantry, with higher casualty ratios and much more exposure to trauma, especially working with veterans, combat veterans from 60 years of continuous wars.  Within the defined rules of the doctor/patient relationship there is typically no room for shared loyalty, friendship and concern.  However, it is a better than average guess that Phillip Kroll left with patents that considered him a friend, patients that would do anything for him. 

I am certain of that.

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