When choosing a doctor, all of us want an experienced professional who knows what they are doing. The more time a doctor has put in, the more experience they have, giving us patients a little more faith. Included among the following medical professionals are surgeons, physicians, an obstetrician, gynaecologist, an allergist, a rheumatologist and a paediatrician. What they all share in common is the passion and enthusiasm they have for their work, so much so that they all decided work until the last possible day that they could. Some of them worked into their hundreds, a couple of which continue to do so. Those who have since passed on worked up until a short time before their death.
There is no place for boredom in the lives of these truly inspiring doctor’s. Their stories will not only leave you feeling like the world is your oyster, but they serve as a poignant reminder that anything is possible. Age is but a number in the minds of these great professionals who have not allowed anything or anyone to prevent them from excelling in their respective fields and delivering superb care to thousands of patients.
10. Dr. B.J. Masakorala, 85
Dr. B.J. Masakorala was honoured with an honorary fellowship of the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka in 2013 for his exceptional contribution to the field of surgery, surgical training and international surgical leadership. Now at the age of 85, the Daily FT ( their local paper) has stated that Masakorala only carries out minor procedures leaving major surgeries to his trusted colleagues and students. In a statement to the Daily FT, he said he believes working at a time when the advancements in technology were not readily available enabled him to gain unique experience. He performed surgery on many film industry personalities, including the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Having carried out over 2,000 goitre surgeries, among many others Masakorala now likes to spend the majority of his time teaching young medical students.
9. Dr. Carrol Frazier Landrum, 88
Eighty-eight year old Dr. Carrol Frazier Landrum is a true hero in the eyes of many citizens of Edwards, Mississippi. Dubbed ‘the travelling doctor’ Frazier believes everybody is entitled to medical assistance, especially those who are living in poverty and unable to afford medical help. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, Frazier treats a number of people from his car, whether it is on the side of the road or in a local parking lot. Due to the manner in which he sees his patients, the State’s Board of Medical Licensure has asked him to surrender his license. However, the people of Mississippi do not want to see their beloved doctor go and have set up a petition on thepetitionsite.com in response to the Board’s request.
8. Dr. Russell Dohner, 88
Dr. Russell Dohner of Rushville, Illinois was a practicing physician for almost six decades. Retiring at 88 years old in 2013, he is a treasured member of the local community. According to examiner.com, Dr. Dohner had been providing the town’s residents with quality medical care for a mere $5 a visit for three decades. If his patients could not afford the $5, he would happily see them anyway. Dohner took his oath very seriously, stating in an interview with BBC News that he didn’t go into medicine to make money; ‘I wanted to be a doctor, taking care of people.’ Amazingly, he worked up until 88, seven days a week alongside his 85 year old nurse Rose Busby and 84 year old receptionist, Edith Moore who hand wrote all of the records. The inspirational trio kept the community going for decades, saving many lives along the way.
7. Dr. Fred Goldman, 101
Now deceased, Dr. Fred Goldman, who was born in December 1911, was once the oldest licensed physician practicing medicine in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Goldman turned 100 in 2011 and was still working three eight hour days a week holding consultations with up to 12 patients a day. According to cincinnati.com, his philosophy was a nurturing, caring one as he believed the doctor/patient relationship was a collaborative one. His unremitting dedication to his profession was followed on after his death in October 2012 when his body was donated to the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. His son, Mike Goldman told cincinnati.com that his father ‘wanted his body to be used as a cadaver for first-year medical students.’
6. Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, 102
Japan’s oldest physician, Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara is 102 years of age and continues to serve as chairman of the board of trustees at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo. He also teaches at St. Luke’s College of Nursing. According to the Japan Times, Hinohara has published over 100 books, many on the subject of longevity. He is renowned for his zestful enthusiasm for life, encouraging citizens to live a full, healthy and happy life. In addition to his work as a physician, he spends a significant portion of his time talking to elementary students on the subject of ‘Life Lessons.’ During his talk sessions, Hinohara encourages young students to become people ‘who value others’ lives just like yours and devote some of your time to others.’
5. Dr. Alfred William Frankland, 102
Known as the grandfather of allergy, Dr. Bill Frankland has made extraordinary contributions to medicine throughout his career pioneering the very first double-blind randomized control trial on allergen immunotherapy. He has been so dedicated to understanding and treating allergies, that he would inject himself with different insect venom to simulate allergic reactions in order to understand what his patients experienced during an allergic reaction. Frankland worked alongside Professor Alexander Fleming who famously discovered penicillin in 1929. At 102 years of age, Frankland continues to practice as a physician and publish papers, five of which were published in 2014. Frankland has stated that he has no intentions of retiring: “I like to work. I like people. I like to see patients. What would I do if I retired?.”
4. Dr. Walter G. Watson, 102
Dr. Walter G. Watson, also known as ‘Curly’ was the former Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospital, Augusta, Georgia. Born in February 1910, the oldest obstetrician and gynaecologist in the state was still working at 101 years old. According to Fox News, Augusta, Watson phenomenally delivered between 15 and 18,000 babies over the course of his career. That accounts for almost 10% of Augusta’s population. Affectionately known as ‘Papa Doc’, Watson was recognized as the oldest known working physician in the US on his 100th birthday in 2010. He had no intentions of retiring, stating that ‘he loves to have something to get up for in the morning.’ Watson died in 2012 at 102 years of age and was described as a ‘man who walked his talk’ by his son-in-law, Dr. Randy Cooper.
3. Dr. Feodor Grigorievich Uglov, 102
Dr. Feodor Grigorievich Uglov made it into the Guinness World Records in 1994 as the oldest practicing surgeon in the world. According to the Telegraph UK, the renowned cardiothoracic surgeon retired at the age of 102. Uglov was highly regarded within his field and won the Lenin Prize in 1961 for developing surgical methods for the treatment of lung disease and implementing them in clinical practice. Uglov, who lived to be 103, was a right-wing teetotaller who condemned drinking and smoking. He became a prolific writer in the later years of his life. The BMJ state that he condemned ‘abortions, rock and roll music, market reforms, and advertising’ even going so far as to argue that media should be under state control.
2. Ephraim P. Engleman, 103
Dr. Ephraim Engleman, who will turn 104 in March of this year, is the oldest practicing physician in the US. He is the director of the Rosalind Russell-Ephraim P. Engleman Rheumatology Research Center at UCSF. Working from his office three days a week, Engleman occasionally sees patients and he claims he will never retire stating, ‘as long as my brain is good, I’m going to keep on working.’ He has written a book called My Century (2013) the proceeds of which go into the research program at UCSF. Included are some rather humorous tips on longevity such as careful parental selection, a healthy sex life, and minimal exercise.
1. Dr. Leila Daughtry Denmark, 103
Born in Georgia in February, 1898, Dr. Leila D. Denmark worked as a practicing physician for over seventy years. Putting her stethoscope down for the last time in May 2001, she retired from the practice of paediatrics at the age of 103. Dr. Denmark held the 2001 Guinness World Record for the oldest practicing physician ever, and in 2013, she held the record for the oldest person to have held the title of “Doctor.” She was the recipient of numerous awards and accolades throughout the course of her career. Her nurturing approach to her work is summed up in the title of her book Every Child Should Have a Chance (1986). Dr. Denmark died in April 2012 at the age of 114.