Woodstock, Vermont - January 20, 2012
Known for its vibrant village and stately buildings, Woodstock is full of history. And for over 50 years, Hugh Hermann's been making his own history as the town doctor.
"Come on in Steve," Hermann said.
Today he's seeing Steve Walker, a 55-year-old who's known the good doctor for decades.
"Ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper," Walker said.
And he's not alone.
"What's 4,000 times 50? A lot!" Hermann said.
He's poked and prodded about 200,000 patients in his long career. He examines eyes, hearing and blood pressure just to name a few.
"That's a little higher than last year, we'll talk about that," he told Walker.
The country doctor who still makes house calls was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. Hugh is a third-generation doctor.
Reporter Joe Carroll: So what on earth are you doing in Woodstock, Vermont?
Dr. Hugh Hermann: It's a long story, but basically I got recruited.
In the 1950s Vermont had a tremendous shortage of primary doctors. It was so dire, that the University of Vermont sponsored four health centers around the state, beckoning doctors to the Green Mountains.
Carroll: Did you get the one you wanted to go?
Hermann: No, I was recruited by Woodstock.
He stayed, saying the quality of life keeps him here.
"It used to be that you know everyone in town, they were your patients-- most of them were. I was the only doctor here for a couple of years," Hermann said.
He served as the president of the State Medical Society, town health officer, medical examiner for 40 years and was on the staff at Dartmouth Medical School. Nowadays, he's not the only doctor in town and he's taking on fewer patients so he can enjoy life.
Carroll: Do you think you still have it?
This old-fashioned doctor lives just up the road in Pomfret. He skis almost every day with his wife. He says physical activity is what keeps him sharp.
Carroll: You're 82, do you feel 82?
He says he feels 55 and doesn't plan to retire anytime soon.
"There's a saying if you live every day as if it was your last day on Earth, you won't regret it," Hermann said.
Some call him an institution in Woodstock. Dr. Hugh Hermann would like to be remembered in a more humane way.
"Country doctor, maybe a trouble maker," he said.
PO Box 4508