94-Year-Old Doctor’s Secret To Long Life: “You Have To Give”

Dr. James Hutchinson has been practicing medicine in his own office building in California for 64 years. That’s longer than most of us have been alive. You can only imagine what he’s seen and dealt with over the years.

As a matter of fact, as San Mateo, California’s first African American doctor, when Dr. Hutchinson bought the building, the local newspaper reported on him that said “Negro MD gets a permit,” which he describes as free advertising that he loved and still chuckles about it to this day.

“I have patients of all races, all colors, all creeds. I’ve enjoyed practicing in San Mateo,” the 94-year-old Dr. Hutchinson tells the San Franscisco Chronicle.

His office walls are covered with photographs of his family, a drawing of Martin Luther King Jr. and awards from his decades of practice.

Hutchinson, who still sees patients four days a week, has a reputation for never turning away someone who cannot afford his care.

“I was brought up in a family tradition that you give back to the community. That if you were born to be fortunate, you don’t get to hoard all your apples,” says Hutchinson, a native of Louisiana, whose mother was a hardworking hospital technician in Shreveport, La.

There’s a certain smile and laugh that Dr. Hutchinson has with every breath. No matter what is going on, he continues to push through and even looks back at past tragedies with a smile. When asked why, he explains simply.

“I always tell my patients, God’s gonna make me old and ugly enough, I can’t let people do it.”