Pop­u­lar doc clocks off

Kua oti nga¯ mahi a te¯ tehi rata ron­gonui

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PURONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Ralph Wiles ex­pe­ri­enced it all dur­ing his 38 years in medicine in Toko­roa and now it is time to clock off.

The Toko­roa Med­i­cal Cen­tre part- time GP has done his dash in South Waikato.

Wiles will leave be­hind the ups and downs of his ca­reer in Toko­roa to­day.

The Auck­land- born doc­tor never imag­ined cre­at­ing a life in a small town.

In fact his shift to the tim­ber town in 1976 was only sup­posed to be a three-week stint.

Three weeks turned into two years as Toko­roa grew on him, he said.

And there were no plans of turn­ing back af­ter that.

‘‘When we came we had three kids and we had a fourth here,’’ he said.

The word re­tire means very lit­tle to the 67-year-old who is mov­ing on to a new prac­tice in Opotiki.

The fa­ther of four said the fact he has stayed for so long proves how much he has en­joyed pur­su­ing his ca­reer in South Waikato.

Be­ing a stan­dard GP has dom­i­nated most of his time but he said his early op­por­tu­ni­ties in ob­stet­rics are among his most mem­o­rable.

‘‘ There’s cer­tainly been some hair-rais­ing mo­ments,’’ he said.

‘‘ De­liv­er­ing ba­bies was fun but ter­ri­fy­ing at times.’’

He only had one goal in mind when the un­ex­pected calls would come at all hours of the day and night.

‘‘You try to keep it as low key as you can for the sake of the pa­tient be­cause you don’t want to alarm the mother,’’ he said.

There were too many mag­i­cal mo­ments to la­bel just one, he said.

‘‘I still get pa­tients com­ing in and point­ing out to me their chil­dren that I de­liv­ered for them.’’

As time went on and leg­is­la­tion changed, Wiles said he had to give up the prac­tice he de­scribed as a hobby.

But his GP work was just as in­ter­est­ing and he said there are al­ways sur­prises when treat­ing some pa­tients.

‘‘I still chose to do GP and I have never re­gret­ted that at all,’’ he said

But the best part was the con­nec­tion he made with people.

‘‘ You con­nect with people on a cer­tain level and that’s a priv­i­lege. I never take that for granted,’’ he said.

Al­though Wiles will take his ex­pe­ri­ences and mem­o­ries with him, he hopes his vi­sion will stick around – a dream to see budding doc­tors grow in Toko­roa just as he did.

Last Check: Ralph Wiles will see his last pa­tients to­day af­ter 38 years of his GP ser­vices in Toko­roa.

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