Callie Lipkin

Russell Dohner of Rushville, Ill., hasn't raised his fees since the '70s

June 24, 2012 04:00 PM

When Russell Dohner was a boy, he had a terrifying bout of seizures.

“When I came out of them,” he tells PEOPLE, “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: $2.

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. “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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