I watched a feel-good piece on television a few weeks back about an 87-year-old family doctor from Rushville, IL (pop. 4,300) who knows his patients by their first names because he was the attending physician when most of them were born.
He charges $5 for office visits and works seven days a week.
Inside the storefront office where Russell R. Dohner, MD, has practiced family medicine since 1955, a television journalist assures us that the good doctor "still does things the old fashioned way." No appointments are necessary. After-hours emergency patients use the back door. Medical records are kept on paper and stuffed in filing cabinets. Calls are taken on a rotary telephone. And prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy down the street.
As for a computer, Dohner says, "I never had one."
Dr. Dohner comes across as a remarkably selfless and saintly man who has dedicated his life to the health and well being of his community. He is a Norman Rockwell painting incarnate. But the story also makes clear that Dr. Dohner is a noble anachronism. There are thousands of older country docs across the nation like Dr. Dohner, but we all know that they don't make them like that anymore.