Bruce Campbell

Surgeon, Blogger, Advisory Board Member

Bruce Campbell , M.D., was torn between career objectives in college, eventually choosing medicine over a life in radio. He is a Head and Neck Cancer Surgeon at the Medical College of Wisconsin, holding faculty appointments in the Department of Otolaryngology and the Center for Bioethics & Medical Humanities.

He loves to write and has contributed medically related essays to WUWM's Lake Effect. He blogs at "Reflections in a Head Mirror” ( and at He and his wife, Kathi, live in Brookfield and are the proud parents of four adult children.  

He joined the WUWM Advisory Board in 2013. 

Twitter: @headmirror

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Today marks 19 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks killed almost three thousand people and injured many more at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Most of us look back on that day and remember where we were and what we were doing before news of these events would change the course of history.

Lake Effect contributor Bruce Campbell shares his experience of being in the operating room the morning of 9/11 and what has happened in the years that followed:

thicha /

The coronavirus has transformed how hospitals are operating. Hospitals that once bustled with activity have been reduced to treating only the sickest among us, and many medical students who once roamed the hallways have been sent home out of concern for their health.

Lake Effect contributor Bruce Campbell is a head and neck surgeon who's been teaching medical students at the Medical College of Wisconsin for the past 30 years. He reflects on teaching his students outside of a hospital in this essay titled “Narrative Medicine in the time of COVID-19.” 

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

There are a lot of debates about the direction of medicine in this country, but the experience of being a doctor was brought into sharp relief by a trip Lake Effect essayist Bruce Campbell took:

Essay: I'm Ready

Jan 28, 2016 / Fotolia

Saving lives is part and parcel of being a doctor. But as essayist Dr. Bruce Campbell well knows, it’s not the only part:

Kathleen Tyler Conklin / Flickr

For those of us whose parents or grandparents grew up during the Depression, Christmastime was not always a time of abundance.  Families often struggled to survive, let alone provide gourmet meals or indulgent presents.

But that didn’t stop them from celebrating, as Lake Effect essayist Bruce Campbell learned from his father:

Essay: Alarm Bells

Jun 30, 2015
Vic / Flickr

Patients often judge their doctors on their bedside manner.  But doctors also pay attention to how well they get along with their patients. But as Lake Effect essayist Dr. Bruce Campbell explains, it’s for reasons patients might not realize:

He is the happiest person in my medical practice, and every visit is full of his non-stop banter.  As soon as I walk in the room, he is off  and running.

Essay: The Tattoo

Apr 9, 2015
Jhong Dizon / Flickr

EKG machines and other high-tech medical equipment are common in hospitals across the country. But as accurate and sensitive as they are, they can’t always answer the questions a doctor might have:

The images were dramatic. The young man was in his early 20s, and his shoulders, chest, and upper arms were covered with a swirling image of skulls, barbed wire, spider webs, and violent messages. The tattoos were, no doubt, meant to send a message to anyone who saw them. The images disappeared underneath the hospital gown that had been draped over him.

Automated telephone answering systems were supposed to help firms conduct their business more efficiently and to help those calling for information get to the right person faster.

No matter how much learning we do, there's still going to be information we don't know. Essayist Dr. Bruce Campbell can relate, as he goes about teaching the surgeons of the future:

In the years before I went to medical school, I worked as a nurse’s aide. Early one morning, one of the surgeons dropped by the Emergency Room in a particularly good mood. The ER doctor asked him why he was so happy.