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101-year-old doctor still practicing medicine in France

Francuski lekarz Christian Chenay

Alain JOCARD / POOL / AFP

Aleteia - published on 05/06/23

French doctor Christian Chenay is 101 years old, yet he is still seeing patients. What makes him keep practicing his profession?

Christian Chenay began practicing medicine during World War II. As an intern, he was forced by the Germans to treat a typhoid epidemic. Despite the harsh conditions and lack of medicine, as Dr. Chenay says, he managed to survive those difficult times. 

Yet, this was not the only epidemic in which he treated patients. After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, he became involved in medical care at a nursing home for retired religious. Indeed, he’s a devout and committed Catholic. As in his youth, he managed to avoid being infected during this outbreak. “We weren’t vaccinated at the beginning, and we didn’t have masks. I was lucky not to get infected,” he says in an interview with Le Parisien.

A tweet describes Dr. Chenay as the oldest doctor in France

“He found a very good rhythm”

Dr. Christian Chenay is still receiving patients. He has 425 people under his care. “It’s more social work than medical work,” he tells the daily Le Parisien.

There is a shortage of medics in his region, and that’s one of the reasons he continues to practice. The other is his apparent love of medicine. “It’s easier to continue something you know. Besides, it’s very easy to stay up-to-date now,” he says in an interview.

Patients come to him mainly for prescriptions. But recently he started having virtual appointments. “He has found a very good rhythm,” says Dr. Chenay’s son. “He sees several patients, about 20 a week.”

Francuski lekarz Christian Chenay
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron talk with Dr. Christian Chenay at the Élysée Palace (May 1, 2020)

Asked about the secret to longevity and good shape, he replied: “There are no secrets. I’ve always eaten irregularly and not very much. I almost always do two things at the same time.”

The local government honored him for his long service.

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Inspiring storiesMedicine
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