Faces in the Crowd: Dr. Donald Blower
He’s had many people lives in his hands and is still going strong after 60 years of helping patients.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — At the age of 87, Dr. Blower has a lifetime of stories collected during his 60 years in practice. After becoming a physician, he served in the U.S. Navy and recalls the time he worked on a soldier’s hand after it was mangled in an accident.
Dr. Donald Blower, Community Health Center of the Black Hills, says, “We were out at the South China Sea at the time. The operating table was the officers dining room table. We had battle lanterns for lights which was good. And I spent the next three hours working on his hand. We didn’t have the nice shiny stuff that my orthopedic friend had back in Guam, but I decided to use plaster, a coat hanger, and rubber bands and needles.”
After his tour of duty was completed, he belonged to several medical groups practicing as a Physician and an Emergency Room Physician in Tennessee. His position now at Community Health of the Black Hills in Rapid City is more of a steady pace.
Blower says, “There’s a lot of people who need help here and so I feel we are giving a service to the community through Community Health. And it’s more relaxing to me then emergency medicine was, but as I said, I did love emergency medicine.”
What started out as a one-month gig at Community Health turned into 13 years. Blower says he has tried to retire a few times, but just couldn’t give up his passion for the profession.
“I enjoy the patients. I enjoy the other people I’m working around. Nobody’s told me to quit, so I haven’t.”
Blower says he has seen a lot of changes in his 60 years of practice, some good, and some not so good. And if he had to do it all again?
“I’d probably do it again. I feel like I was in the golden age of medicine in many ways.”