The awful impact of the high cost of doctor's Malpractice insurance premiums was felt by hundreds of residents of La Puente early this month when their doctors, Doctors Curtis Sauer and Frank Scherger closed their office at 15905 Main Street after serving the community since 1956.

The two doctors met while in medical school together at the University of St. Louis and both interned at the St. Louis County Hospital from 1938 to 1940. After graduation, they kept in contact with each other, hoping to someday go into partnership together.

However, Dr. Sauer took a job as a doctor with a Gold Mining Company in Ecuador and Portobello. It was there where he met his wife, Mariana, who was his secretary and married her in 1942.

Being a Reserve Officer, he was loaned out by the Army to the State Department to give health and medical aid to the people in South American countries. From 1942 - 1945, he worked for the
Institute of Inter-American Affairs, being assigned to the health and medical division to work building hospitals and medical treatment centers in Ecuador and Colombia, dispensing medical aid to the personnel in essential was industries. For his work in these countries, he received an Army Commendation from President Harry Truman during WWII. It was during his stay in Ecuador that he learned to speak Spanish so fluently.

Doctor Scherger, on the other hand, spent five years in the Army Medical Corps and then set up practice in his hometown, Delphos, Ohio from 1946 - 1956. Dr. Sauer joined him for three years, but then came to California to join a group of doctors in Long Beach. In 1953, he asked his friend Dr. Scherger to come to California to look around for a place for them to set up practice. He and his wife Pauline did so. Just by chance, he landed in the town of La Puente, when he got lost coming from Pomona. He liked the small town and he rented a two room office from a long time resident of La Puente Joe Lima. Dr. Sauer joined him 1956 and they set up their practice in the same office that they closed on April 1, 1976.

When they first opened, they saw patients morning, afternoons and evenings six days a week and on Sunday by appointment. Often during their 20 year stay they would see as many as 60 to 70 patients a day.

"We finally decided to keep the office open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (sometimes going far into the afternoon), Besides being Medical Practitioners, or "country doctors", we both did general surgery in the local hospitals in the area until 1971." stated Dr. Sauer. "I think the day of the small private practitioner is nearing an end because he wont be able to afford the insurance premiums. Yes we gerneral practitioners  or country doctors so to speak, are the last of an era.

His former patients think so too. They know they'll never see the likes of such doctors as Drs. Sauer and Scherger who have dedicated their lives to serving the medical needs of their families.