Navy Emergency Physician of 44 years postpones retirement to fight coronavirus

Francis Watson decided that he must answer this important call
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Posted at 10:19 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 10:19:55-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Francis Watson, MD, emergency physician for Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s Emergency Department, has decided to postpone his retirement to help fight coronavirus!

The Navy says that retired physicians across the country are being asked to reenlist and rejoin the healthcare workforce to help fight the worldwide pandemic, while many others courteously volunteer.

Watson, who has been an emergency physician for 44 years, planned to have his retirement in March after working at NMCP, as well as Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and Branch Health Clinic Naval Station Norfolk.

“My retirement was to take place March 13, which so happened to be a Friday the 13th,” Watson said. “The following Monday, I was going to start my check out process and that’s when I decided I wanted to stay and help those in need.”

After his story broke about the worsening effect the virus was having on the country, Watson decided that he must answer this important call.

“My only thought was that now is not the time to leave fellow doctors and nurses in need of help,” Watson said.

Watson, currently working in triage, spoke highly of how it has impacted NMCPs’ fight against the virus.

“I believe this process is working well,” Watson said. “We are keeping patients out of the waiting area and taking some of the pressure off of the ER. We are treating and releasing patients more quickly through car triage screenings, so I believe it is reducing the volume and stress of the department.”

Watson declares he is fulfilling his duty as a physician by continuing his efforts in healthcare.

“When I decided not to retire yet, I told my children that there is no honor in leaving the battle,” Watson said. “I want to stay and help my colleagues.”

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