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- June 04, 2012
- Vol. 77
- No. 23
This Doctor's Fee: Five Dollars
He's delivered 3,400 babies, works seven days a week and hasn't taken a vacation in 57 years. Oh, and he doesn't take insurance
When Russell Dohner was a boy, he had a terrifying bout of seizures. "When I came out of them," he says, "there would always be [our physician] Dr. Hamilton. I decided I wanted to be like him." After medical school, he hung out a shingle in the next county over. His fee for an office visit: two dollars.
That was in 1955. And while times have changed, Dr. Dohner hasn't. He still sees patients seven days a week out of the same office, keeps handwritten records with the help of his longtime nurse Florence Bottorff, 88, and has been charging patients $5 a visit since the '70s. "That's the way I've always done it," says the gentlemanly bachelor, who lives off the income from his farm and draws no salary. "There are quite a few people who come to see me because they can't afford anybody else. I can help."
For that, a town is grateful. "Right now, I'm not working and I don't have insurance," says Mildred Ortiz, 50, who has high blood pressure. "Dr. Dohner works for his patients, and for love."
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