After nearly 70 years of work, 95-year-old doctor hangs up coat
Posted February 17
Updated February 18
Smithfield, N.C. — Dr. Woodrow Batten, the longest-serving member of the medical staff at Johnston Health, retired Friday at age 95.
The Johnston County native has been practicing medicine for close to 70 years. The majority of those years were spent in the hospital.
"It's good to be at home and still be working," Batten said.
Recently, something told him it was time to hang up his white coat.
"I was just fortunate to live this long and have good enough health to keep going and working and studying and so forth," he said.
Dr. Eric Janis, who has been practicing alongside Batten for 21 years, described his colleague as an icon.
"Dr. Batten is a model for what a physician is," Janis said.
Janis said Batten has touched the lives of thousands, in and out of the hospital.
"His dedication to being a physician, taking care of patients, teaching colleagues, teaching students is what this profession is all about," Janis said.
After taking care of others for so many years, Batten will now dedicate himself to his wife, who has Alzheimer’s.
"I feel my best job is now looking after her," Batten said.
Although he is leaving medicine, Batten said the work is not over. He hopes to continue to give back.
"I have not accomplished great things, but I've accomplished enough to make me feel good about some of the things I've done and feel like I have at least played a role of some significance," he said.
During his tenure at Johnston Health, he helped create the cardiac intensive care unit.