AUGUSTA, GA, USA — Dr Walter Watson, known to many as “Papa Doc”, has delivered 18,000 babies in his 100 years of life – celebrated last month -and still comes into the clinic regularly to see his patients – setting the world record for the Oldest Practicing Doctor.
Dr Walter Watson, the world’s Oldest Practicing Doctor has delivered over 18,000 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. There are many Augusta-area families that have several generations of babies delivered by the doctor.
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.
People came to the hospital to honor Watson and his wife Audrey and say happy birthday. They wore stickers that declared them a “Watson Baby” or the mother of a “Watson Baby,” often both.
However, Watson says he doesn’t feel a day over 99.
“People think it is hard today,” Watson said. “It doesn’t compare with ’31.”
In an interview with CNN, Watson says that he served in the army before becoming a qualified doctor in May 1947.
The doc’s entry into the trade was far from easy. 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.
The world’s Oldest Practicing Doctor 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.
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.
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.