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$5 doctor: A hit with patients

8:46 AM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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Dr. Russell Dohner charges five dollars an office call. He won't accept medical insurance. He says it's not worth the bother.

He's been doing it this way for most of the 60 years he's been practicing medicine in this small town. "When I came here in 1955, all the doctors in town charged $2 an office call, and so then I made it $5. And so it's been that way ever since," Dr. Dohner explained. 

His record-keeping is old-school too. He keeps patient records on hand-written index cards stored in row upon row of filing drawers.

Dr. Dohner means a lot to the community. People come from four counties that surround Rushville to see him. Dr. Dohner is a fixture at the local hospital too and the nurses who see him in action say there's almost something magical about the affect he has on patients.

"There's no words to describe what he does for people and the effect he has on people," according to registered nurse Cindy Kunkel.

"A lot of elderly people that have doctored with him all their lives, you could see them and you would think they wouldn't respond to even their own family members. But Dr. Dohner would walk in the room and he would kind of wiggle their toe a little bit and talk to them and their eyes would open. And you could just see the twinkle in their eye," she said.

Dr. Dohner admits he'll never get rich, and that's just fine with him. "I always just wanted to be a doctor to help people with their medical problems and that's all it's for, is to help people with medical problems," Dr. Dohner explained. "It was never intended to o make a lot of money. I don't hardly make enough to pay my nurses," he said with a chuckle. 

Dr. Dohner is 87-years-old and has no intention of retiring.

"As long as I can make it up here, I'll help if I can. Just like you can see there's people that come in that need help. I mean, that's just what I'm supposed to do, I guess."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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