Dr Walter Watson, known to many as “Papa Doc”, according to WJBF, celebrated his 100th birthday this February. But what sets the elderly physician apart from his contemporaries is that he has, as yet, not retired.
Yesterday, the University Hospital in Augusta honoured their oldest and most valued obstetrician and gynaecologist, whose name is already brandished on the entrance to the health facility’s women’s centre.
In an interview with CNN, Watson says that he served in the army before becoming a qualified doctor in May 1947. Vitals Spotlight, however, claims that the doc’s entry into the trade was far from easy. The news provider says Watson spent 7 years working on a farm in Edgefield doing hard labour for as little as 50 cents a day in order to afford medical school.
He reportedly enrolled at the Medical College of Georgia in 1939, and did his residency at University Hospital, which he never left.
According to Watson himself, he stopped delivering babies and conducting surgery around 1996, however still comes into the clinic regularly to see his patients.
Many babies in the town were delivered by him, including his partner at the hospital, Dr Michael McDonough. His wife Audrey remarked that her husband is recognised everywhere.
Sabra Allen also told CNN that she has been a patient of Dr Watson for 58, going on 59 years: “He delivered all my babies,” she says “and you couldn’t find another one like him, because he’s the best. He delivered all 5 of mine and 12 of the grandchildren,.”
His colleagues praise him for his “old-school” approach towards healthcare, which is all about actually taking care of the patients. The doc himself places a particular emphasis on family values. He tells CNN:
“You guys have family you take care of, feel close to. And with patients, it’s the same way, you feel close to them, you work with them, and you try and help them.”
According to Vital Spotlight, Watson has delivered over 15,000 babies over the years and although he has retired from that particular role, he still makes an effort to see around 5 patients every day, including new ones.
WJBF cited reporter Sheena Brodie: “February 25, 2010 turned out to not only be a celebration for ‘Papa Doc’, but for one of the thousands of Watson babies born in the CSRA. Watson baby Tom Macafee was at the University Hospital to see and celebrate the doctor’s 100th birthday, along with the birth of his daughter on Thursday. And his daughter has a special name…Audrey.”