Tuesday 23 January 2018

Paddy misses his Sligo patients after 62 years as GP

Dr Paddy Henry
Dr Paddy Henry

He may have gone from Sligo but Sligo is still very much in the heart of retired GP and author Dr Paddy Henry.

Speaking to The Sligo Champion, from his new home in Dublin, the almost 89-year-old spoke of how much he misses General Practice.

For Paddy, who served the community in Rosses Point as GP for 62 years, the hardest part of retirement is missing his patients.

"If I could only see my patients I would be quite happy. I miss the fact that you were doing something useful to help people. I wanted to do something good for humanity," he said.

On his retirement two years ago, Paddy received more than 150 letters from his patients, which was a source of some consolation to him on giving up his practice.

"I found it very hard to retire. After receiving those letters I felt that I had done some good," he said.

He was the fifth President of the Irish College of General Practitioners.

"There were seven presidents after me deceased, I'm still trying to keep out of the Departure Lounge," he laughed.

Indeed, laughter is something Paddy feels strongly about in medicine and has written five books in total, two on humour in medicine: The Healing Power of Humour and Ha-Ha-Ha: Further Observations, anecdotes and thoughts of life in general practice.

His books were written in aid of North West Hospice and copies are still available there.

"Laughter is the most wonderful tranquilizer with no side effects," he said.

He sent a copy of his second book to Queen Elizabeth when she visited this country in 2011.

"I got a letter back from her, thanking me for the book and saying she appreciated the humour," said Paddy.

He recalled an incident with one of his patients years ago: having delivered a baby successfully in a nursing home, the mother, instead of thanking him, admonished him. She had seen him swimming at Rosses Point a few days previously and she had said to her husband, "look where he is if I needed him."

He and his wife Mary, who have three children, recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

His secrets to a long and happy marriage? "Clean living and stick with the one woman!"

Sligo Champion

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