At 106 (and 1/2), This Doctor Isn’t Slowing Down

Samantha Bresnahan, CNN – Wearing his favorite tie, Dr. A. William Frankland settles into his beige armchair and recounts a life story Hollywood could only dream of.

  • He was born as a twin in 1912;
  • began medical school in the 1930s;
  • held a military post in Singapore during WWII that resulted in being held as a POW for more than three years;
  • returned to England after the war and studied under Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered penicillin;
  • became an allergist and developed a pollen count system to help people understand what triggered their allergic reactions.
  • All of that happened by the 1950s, and in honor, the Allergy Clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital in London was named after him.

At that point, he had more than a half-century of his career to go.

“So often, people say, ‘How is that you’ve lived so long?’ ” he said. “And I say, ‘That’s just luck, nothing else.’ ”

At 106 (and 1/2, he’ll remind you), Frankland still occasionally consults with patients and contributes articles to journal publications. He loves reading medical journals and keeping up with the field he helped pioneer …

Beyond longevity, what sets Frankland apart is the sharpness of his mind.

He’s writing a paper now about how penicillin was discovered, based on his time with Fleming.

He acknowledges the sadness he has experienced over the years, choosing to swallow the negative memories and fear he experienced and focus on happiness.

Memories from his life remain vivid. He says he remembers his third birthday, when he indulged in too much cake and ended up sick.

In 1953, at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, he ran tests on himself to make his discoveries.

“I caused acute severe anaphylaxis in myself from an insect,” he explained. “Nowadays, you wouldn’t be allowed to do such an experiment.”

His research soon linked hay fever symptoms to pollen, changing everyone’s understanding of the condition … Read the full story at CNN. 


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