Grateful Patient Family Pays Doctor with Chickens

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Bob Hallinan

Executive Producer

Office: (913) 588-7284

Cell: (913)-481-7329


            Back in the frontier days, it was common for a grateful patient to pay the town’s doctor with a chicken or some eggs.  An area family has taken that concept into the 21st century at The University of Kansas Health System.

            Jim and Elisha McGuire had spent many months caring for Jim’s 94- year-old mother in her home during her final days, all under the care of Dr. Melissa Mills, using secure electronic communication. When Jim’s mom passed away, he and his family decided to do something special to show their appreciation for the compassionate care shown by Dr. Mills and her team. They came back to the doctor’s office, and surprised her and her nurse with rotisserie chickens, preserves, baked goods and jewelry. As Jim put it, “Mom and I spent many days watching Little House on The Prairie re-runs, and she would have gotten a kick out of us giving these things to Dr. Mills…just like the town used to pay Doc Baker! We’re so grateful she helped smooth the way for a three-point landing on the runway in heaven for Mom.”

            Dr. Mills said, “I was very surprised, flattered and very touched by this amazing gesture. It definitely brought some sunshine into my week! And it was much neater than getting an actual chicken!” Dr. Mills also said death is a part of life, and it brings her and her team great satisfaction to help a patient find a happy and peaceful end to their life.

            The video includes sound with Jim and Elisha McGuire, Dr. Melissa Mills, and shots of the McGuires presenting the gifts to Dr. Mills and her nurse.