A McKinney Doctor's Ambulatory Business Sign

A 41-year-old Cadillac ambulance points patients to physician's home-based practice

By Randy McIlwain
|  Thursday, Jul 29, 2010  |  Updated 7:15 PM CDT
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Home-Based Doctor Uses Driveway-Based Advertising

NBCDFW.com

A McKinney doctor has found a unique way to promote his home-based practice.

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Home-Based Doctor Uses Driveway-Based Advertising

A McKinney physician came up with a unique way to advertise his home-based practice without violating McKinney's sign ordinance.
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Dr. Daniel Chartrand said all he ever wanted to be was small-town, country doctor.

Burned out on working 24- and 48-hour shifts in emergency rooms, he opened a practice in the first floor of his home. But he had trouble attracting new patients.

"The city won't let us have a sign because it's a residence, so we had to come up with a way to get around that,” Chartrand said.

The cure? A 41-year-old Cadillac ambulance.

It was orange, rusted out and had engine problems, but Chartrand got it refurbished. He painted it red, white and silver and parked it in his driveway as a landmark for his medical clinic.

"That's what we tell them -- we say, 'Look for the house with the ambulance,'” he said.

The unique business sign actually runs nicely, but the doctor never uses for much beyond a quick run to the grocery store. Passers-by often photograph it.

"That's a great marker," patient Linda Butchee said. "We love that ambulance. That's great."

But patients say it's the old-fashioned doctoring, not the old-fashioned ambulance, that has them feeling better before they even get treated.

"You come in and your blood pressure is not up," Butchee said. "You're still calm. You're still relaxed. It's an easy thing to do -- much easier than going to some sterile clinic."

Chartrand said the only downside to running a home-based practice is that people think he never closes. Patients frequently stop by with health emergencies, many drawn by the parked ambulance.

"People are looking for this," Chartrand said. "They want old-fashioned medicine. They want medicine the way it used to be.”

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