After graduating with a degree in biological and physical sciences, he completed medical school and then returned to Flora, in Carroll County. In addition to being the small town’s only family physician, he also is the county EMS director and health officer, in addition to working on his family’s farm.
“I was born and raised here,” Dutter said. “I’m invested in the community. We’ve always had a physician in Flora, and I wanted to continue that tradition.”
The previous family physician mentored Dutter when he was young, and then went into semi-retirement, allowing Dutter to take over his practice 11 years ago.
He enjoys the variety of family medicine, and being able to take care of patients from newborns all the way up to his oldest patient, who was 104.
“I walk in one room, and I see a baby, and my next patient has arthritis, and the next has blood pressure problems,” he said. “You have to stay on your toes. I get to do some things that in a larger city I would refer to another doctor. I like that.”
Being a community doctor is all about relationships, which makes his profession rewarding, in spite of the challenges of running an independent practice, not owned by a hospital or health network.
“I like the connection with patients as much as anything else,” he said. “I know the patients, and their history, their expectations, and how they want to be treated. You build relationships with your patients. This community has been very supportive.”
He said IU Kokomo prepared him for the rigors of medical school, and allowed him to graduate without student debt.
“I was able to work at home each summer and earn my tuition money, so I could graduate without students loans,” he said. “That helped tremendously when I borrowed for medical school, so that I didn’t have undergraduate debt on top of that.”
He is pleased to have the opportunity to give back to his hometown.
“I’m a fix it kind of guy, so I probably would have been a great surgeon, but that would not have allowed me the kind of relationships I have with my patients,” he said. “That’s the difference with a small town community. I always joked that if you were born in Flora, you never get out of Flora, but the reality is, there are a lot of us who want to stay.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.