Deb Younger lives up to her name. Age is irrelevant in her approach to life. For years, Deb travelled the world. Then she became interested in health and medicine. She got a nursing degree in New York, became a PA at University of Washington, got an MPH in Hawaii and MD in England. Somewhere in there, at age 39, she had two children. She moved to Charleston in 1987 for a residency in family medicine and has lived here ever since.
For the past 26 years, Deb has been an ED physician. “A lot of what I do is social work. I always ask about their home life. Some of my peers order lots of tests and make more money. I want to talk to patients. If they’ve had a dozen CT’s that don’t reveal anything, why order another one? They don’t need that radiation. How you get treated in the ED depends on who you get assigned to.”
Deb believes there are critical health needs in South Carolina. She helped to create the first EMS service in Douglas County. “I couldn’t believe that there were parts of the United States where you couldn’t dial 911 for help.”
But raising two children as a single mom in Charleston has been difficult. The public schools were a challenge. She sent her children to private schools. However, she didn’t like the social aspects that accompanied such privilege, so she took her children on summer volunteer programs in Peru and Africa. “Travelling is education in itself.”
At this time, both of here children are grown and educated. “I just finished paying for my children’s education – I wanted both of them to get through college debt free. I don’t have a retirement plan. I’d like to stop working at 70 and join the Peace Corps, but I’m 68 and 70 is coming up fast. I’ll probably have to work until 75 and then take my skills abroad.”
Deb Younger doesn’t even wince at the thought of working ten years beyond when most people retire and then applying her skills in arenas that might prove even more challenging. She loves what she does, and age is no barrier.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I am optimistic. If things are going well we are content with how things are. If not, we are capable of finding solutions. Implementing them is hard but I have faith in the human race will find a way.”