Long thought extinct from the American health care frontier one has been found alive and serving his rural patients -a dedicated doctor that make house calls. One has been loving his work for 50 years!
In Yoakum, Texas a sleepy country town, that sprang up around a railroad junction folks knows Doc Watson.
Over the last 50 years, this tall and lanky family general practitioner welcomed many of the town’s citizens and doctored most of the others.
“I never wanted to be anything other than a family doctor,” Watson said as he sat in the hospital cafeteria on a recent December day. Pork chops and chicken fried steak (“good home cooking,” noted Watson) were on the menu, a reminder of the small-town atmosphere that drew the Baylor College of Medicine graduate to Yoakum in 1958.
The frayed and stained doctor’s bag he brought with him is marked by the scars of countless moments of birth, death and recovery. Over the years he has served several generations of patients in this town of 6,000 about 100 miles east of San Antonio.
He began his practice charging $3 for office visits and $5 for house calls, but he often accepted other kinds of payment including homemade pies, fresh vegetables, deer meat and sausages. One grateful patient gave Watson, a hardcore golfer, one of her husband’s old 2-irons. It still sits in a corner of his office.
“He’s always right there when you need him,” said Karen Barber, CEO of the Yoakum Community Hospital, where a wing is named after Watson. “There’s never a second thought for him. He just does what needs to be done.”
The night Janet Jaco’s little girl had to be rushed to the hospital with a sudden hemorrhage, David Watson walked the four blocks from his house to the Yoakum Community Hospital every hour on the hour to check on his patient and offer a comforting shoulder to her worried mother.
The night the hospital urgently needed blood for an obstetrics patient, Watson rushed down from his office to donate some of his O-negative, then stayed to call in other townspeople with the right blood type. (He knew who they were.)
Flooded roads did not stop him on night from getting to an ailing neighbor; he simply jumped on the tractor, put one arm around the driver and the other held his worn leather doctor’s bag as they went to the hospital.
Dr. Watson received the Country Doctor of the Year award this month. The honors is awarded annual to a primary care physician who best exemplifies the spirit of rural practitioners.
At 78, he still sees up to 30 patients a day at the Yoakum Medical Clinic, the office where he has worked for half a century. He visits another 30 patients during daily rounds at the hospital and a local nursing home, treats children at the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch and continues to make house calls.
Love what you do -do it to the best of your abilities and the world will be a better place for you having walked and served here.
Thanks Dr. Watson for your dedicated loving service.
Yes Virginia the spirit of Christmas lives on every day through loving dedicated people.
Country Doctor of Year: 50 years of house calls
– MONICA RHOR, AP Dec 29, 2008. as reported in YahooNews http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081229/ap_on_re_us/country_doc;_ylt=Assc