Tri-State Original: The Five Dollar Doctor - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tri-State Original: The Five Dollar Doctor


RUSHVILLE, Ill. (WGEM)-- Going to the doctor is rarely an enjoyable task, and to make the experience worse, the doctor's bill can get pretty steep quickly.

But one Rushville doctor knows just how to treat those patients who may be sick of the doctor, and is starts with the bill.

Not much has changed here at Dr. Russell Dohner's practice since it opened in 1955. He's in the same office, sees many of the same patients, and his prices have only changed twice in five decades.

"When I came here, all the doctors charged two dollars for an office call. That was common for everybody. So when the others got old and finally couldn't work and I was kind of alone here, so I continued to charge two dollars for a long time," Dr. Dohner said.

As news about his prices made it's way out, Dr. Dohner raised his fee twice over the years. But once he hit five dollars, he decided it would never go any higher. He says it's a decision that reflects the kind of doctor he wanted to be when he first started practicing.

"I'm what they call an old country doctor and will always follow that because that's what I started out to do," Dr. Dohner said.

On a typical day, Dr. Dohner treats an average of 50 patients, many of which have sent him Christmas cards and pictures over the years. Thankful not only for his low office fee, but the above and beyond dedication the doctor has for his patients.

"For a long time I was the only doctor in town so I couldn't take a day off so I got used to it and I've never really taken days off as far as that's concerned," Dr. Dohner said.

And the 86-year-old doctor says he has no intention of taking one in the near future. He's not going to retire, but rather, simply work until he can't anymore.

"It's one of those things where you work as long as you can and when you can't work that's not retirement, that's just you can't work anymore," Dr. Dohner said.

The doctor says he still makes the occasional house call when he's needed, but it is the one thing he has scaled back on a bit in the last couple of years.

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