Thomas C. Scott, DO ’54


August 28, 2017

Retired Family Physician, New Castle, Delaware

[as told to David McKay Wilson]

Thomas C. Scott, DO ’54 “When I retired at age 75 in September 2001, I recalled a saying in the theater: ‘Always leave the stage while the audience is still applauding.’ You don’t wait for the last clap. . . . I’m 90 now, and still go back to the small town of Delaware City, Delaware, about 20 miles south of Wilmington, where I was the only physician in practice for 33 years. I delivered babies back then, and now I’m officiating at funerals for some of my former patients who make the request. It is very moving for me to make a eulogy for a patient I’d known and treated. I’ve faithfully taken care of my patients from the womb to the tomb. . . . When I arrived in 1955 to that town of 1,300, the residents welcomed me. We became family. I made house calls at all hours of the day and night—and once even to a farm, on the back of a tractor, in the snow. I’ve practiced dermatology, psychiatry, whatever was needed. I had patients travel to my office from miles away. Being a doctor of osteopathic medicine, I embraced the philosophy of treating the body, mind and spirit—the philosophy of holistic medicine. As their physician, I was there to help them, in every possible way. I helped people through tough situations. I often prayed with my patients. People still call me if they get a bad diagnosis or need advice. They say they want ‘sage or spiritual guidance and sustenance.’ I’m very happy to give it to them. . . . After I retired from my practice, I went to Wilmington and helped to start St. Clare Medical Outreach. I essentially set up a full-service doctor’s office on wheels (a 35-foot mobile van funded through donations and the help of St. Francis Hospital) so I could travel to and treat the homeless, the poor, the uninsured. Along the way, I engaged a few Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine students to help and learn from the endeavor. I served the community, a ministry of love, five days a week for over a decade. The experience was a joy.”