Dorthy A. Reese,M.D, Great Doc, RIP

The best doctor I ever had for my children passed away unbeknownst to me.

Dr. Dorthy Reese was my pediatrician when I was a graduate student in Tuscaloosa from 1969, until she moved her practice to North Carolina. She took care of my three small children like they were her own and when an obstetrician removed too much foreskin from my newborn son, I thought Dr. Reese was going to physically assault that doctor, she was that mad!

She said she would testify against him in court if the wound did not heal right!

I will never forget what she said when a drug she needed (gamma globulin, I think) to treat measles in children (this was before the vaccine) was not available because the health department was using most of the available supplies to treat STD’s in homosexual males: “I would let them have one treatment, and after that, I’d cut it off.”

Students were charged outrageously low fees and when we thought we had an after-hours emergency, she would tell us to meet her at the hospital, but not to sign in. That was so we would not have to pay for a hospital visit it turned out to be unnecessary – and it usually was. No other doctor I have ever known (and I went on to have two more children) ever did this, but maybe they couldn’t.  Since Medicare and Medicaid, medicine has become more and more controlled by hospitals, insurance companies, etc., then it was in our days in Tuscaloosa – and not for the better, in my humble opinion. I really miss old fashioned, independent docs, like Dorthy A. Reese!

When the government told her she had to charge everyone the same, she packed up and moved to Tennessee. We were crushed, but admired her independence. What a great lady, what a great doctor, I am sorry I did not know she passed away; I would have gone to her funeral. I regret I did not.

Dorthy Reese, old school feminist, fighter for mothers and children, impervious to the opinions of her “colleagues” if they disagree with what she thought best for her patients, lover of children, fearless defender, God-send to poor parents, and our friend. May the Lord grant her eternal rest, and may we meet again where there is no more illness, weeping or regrets.



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