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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Doctor, 100, still working after delivering 18,000 babies

A doctor who has delivered 18,000 babies over a career spanning more than 60 years is still practising at 100 years old.
Doctor, 100, still working after delivering 18,000 babies: Dr  Walter Watson
Dr Walter Watson Photo: Barry Bland / Barcroft

Dr Walter Watson, nicknamed "Papa Doc", has been present at the births of generations spanning from grandparents down to grandchildren during his 63 years as an obstetrician.

The doctor from Augusta, Georgia, USA is thought to be the oldest practising medic in the world.

Among his patients is Sabra Allen, 77, who he has treated for 59 years. He has delivered 17 members of her family.

“He delivered all five of my kids and twelve of the grandkids,” said Mrs Allen, a retired hospital administrator.

“There ain’t no one like him, he’s the best.”

Dr. Watson, who still goes to work every day, said: “There is nothing quite as amazing at witnessing the miracle of life.

“Trouble is I remember the births with complications more vividly than the ones that went perfectly. Once you’ve done several thousand they start blending in together.”

Dr. Watson qualified at the brink of the Second World War but served in Korea until 1947.

When the war ended he returned to Georgia, his wife of 65 years Audrey and the practice of medicine.

Dr Watson turned 100 on February 25.

“I get up at 6.45, have my breakfast and get to the hospital by 8.30,” he said.

“I stopped delivering babies when my eyesight got bad but I do my rounds at the nursing stations and operating rooms just like I’ve always done.”

The women’s centre at University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, bears Dr Watson's name and there is a bronze statue of him holding a newborn baby.

Dr Watson also delivered his colleague at the hospital, Dr Michel McDonough, who is young enough to be his grandson.

Dr. McDonough said: “His work ethic is unsurpassed by anybody.

“He was around before beepers – back then you were either at the hospital, at home or at church.”

Dr. Watson says he has no plans for retirement despite suffering from minor arthritis and diminished eyesight and hearing.

“I love medicine and I love having contact with people," he said.

“It gives me a reason to crawl out of bed in the mornings.”

According to records Dr Watson is the oldest practising doctor.

The previous record holder was Dr. Leila Denmark, also of Georgia, who practised until she turned 102 in 2000.


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