News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The nation's oldest known physician is now a patient himself and is in serious condition at University Hospital after falling and hitting his head this weekend.
Dr. W.G. "Curly" Watson is known for decades of accomplishments, including delivering an estimated 15,000 babies. Now the community is hoping the power of prayer can help the 102-year-old man who has helped so many.
In his 80s, retired minister Dr. John M. Younginer Jr. remembers looking up to Dr. Watson.
"I knew Dr. Watson as a prominent figure when I was just a child and we lived in Johnston and he was coaching football in Edgefield," Younginer said.
In the last few decades, the two men have grown much closer.
"We've been close friends for over 35 years. I was his pastor for 12, and it's so easy to talk about him because he never said no to the church," Younginer said.
After falling at his home Saturday night, Dr. Watson hit his head. He's in the ICU in the same hospital he spent so many years walking the halls.
"So many people care about him, love him, and I'm sure they're praying for him," Younginer said.
Dr. Watson has more accomplishments than you can count and has delivered more babies than you can count, too. The hospital estimates about 15,000.
"I think if we had an actual count, it would probably exceed that a little bit," Younginer said.
Younginer's grandaughter, Aubrie Mayson, a third grade teacher at Merriwether Elementary, is one of the many.
"I am a Watson baby. To deliver that many babies and touch that many lives, that many families, I'm sure anywhere you go you'll be able to find a connection to a Watson baby and that's just really special," Mayson said.
It didn't take News 12 long to find another Watson baby in the halls of Merriwether Elementary.
"I am a Watson baby. He delivered me 60 years ago," explains Gladys Spires, the bookkeeper at the school.
"As we begin to look back, at the impact that he's had on many of us, it will go on and on and on," Younginer said.
And it's an impact so many people hope will keep going.
"I think all we can do is pray and I think we all know the power of prayer. I'm honored to be a Watson baby," Mayson said.
Dr. Younginer says a few years back, on Dr. Watson's 96th birthday, the church passed out bookmarks with his life motto.
It reads, "Always do your best. Never give up. Room is at the top. Be a lady. Be a gentleman."
The W.G. Watson Women's Center at University Hospital is named in his honor. Up until just the last few months, he was still checking in at the hospital. Dr. Watson is also the oldest living member of The Citadel, where he graduated in 1931.