After more than 45 years, Dr. Downs is leaving for retirement | VIVA MÉDIA Skip to main content

December 31st  will not only mark the end of the current year. This date will also mark the end of an important chapter in Vaudreuil-Dorion. This day, which will come sooner than some would like, is also the retirement day for Dr. Jean-Pierre Downs.

Dr. Downs is now 72 years old. For him, the time for retirement has come. It is obvious that it is with his head full of memories and hard to hide emotions that he sees the fateful date approaching.

For the general practitioner who made his professional debut in 1975, the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion has always been his home base. “I have about 2,500 patients, says Dr. Downs. For many years, I was the only doctor in Vaudreuil-Dorion. There was no FMG clinic at the time. Therefore, I have patients who have been with me since my first day as a doctor. I have followed entire families. I have several patients for whom I am also the doctor of the parents and even of the grandparents.”

No computer or tablet

Jean-Pierre Downs is what we would call a doctor like in the old days. In his office, located on rue Saint-Michel in Vaudreuil-Dorion, you don’t have to look for computers or electronic devices.

Photo Steve Sauvé

“All my files are on paper. I make notes of all the consultations. I have never used a computer. That’s how I learned so that’s how I practiced it. My secretary doesn’t have a computer either. To give you an idea, I still make prescriptions by hand on paper. Medicine has evolved a lot in 40 years. Now it’s a lot more computerized than it used to be. Me, that’s not how I learned. I have witnessed the evolution of medicine.”

What will happen to the patients

When Dr. Downs retires, more than 2,500 patients will be left without a family doctor. Inevitably, these people will have to register online to find a family doctor. For the future retiree, in an ideal world, a new doctor would knock on his door.

“I am trying to find a solution, but it is not easy for my colleagues to take new patients. Obviously, I would like a young doctor to take over. I would be prepared to give him all my files. But that is not the reality. You also have to understand that it is not easy to be a general practitioner. It’s difficult. Besides, having an office is not easy. Many young doctors prefer to practice in emergency rooms.”

Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the big factors Mr. Downs is hanging up his stethoscope. “I found it very difficult. I don’t see any more patients. Now, consultations are done by phone. The pandemic got the better of my passion for medicine. I was not trained to go virtual. It’s not just because of the pandemic, but it really hasn’t helped.”

Retirement will be a chance for Dr. Downs to enjoy life. “I want to exercise, go for walks, play golf, and I would like to learn to play bridge. It’s also obvious that I’m going to take computer lessons”, he says with a smile.

Finally, the native of Vaudreuil-Dorion wishes to thank all of his patients for the confidence they have shown in him over the years. “I also want to publicly thank Louise Laflèche. She was the secretary in my office for 40 years. She was really good. The patients liked her very much.”

Steve Sauvé

Journaliste

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