The family physician of former President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Michael Raines, has expressed deep concern over the passing of former first lady Rosalynn Carter, stating that it is a “big loss” for the former president.
Dr. Raines, who has been involved in Jimmy’s healthcare, has now stressed that the health of the oldest living president is now the primary focus.
Jimmy, facing various health challenges, has been through significant health scares, including a cancer diagnosis in 2015 and serious falls in 2019 that required him to undergo surgeries.
Dr. Raines says that despite these struggles, the loss of Rosalynn, his wife of 77 years, will be the most significant challenge for Jimmy.
“I’m sure he’ll try to work through this, but it’s such a big loss for him,” he stated, per WALB.
The doctor continued by explaining he was concerned about Jimmy’s motivation for life during his time in hospice care without Rosalynn. In fact, Dr. Raines acknowledges that the couple had a strong dependency on each other, not just in love but in their relationship and friendship.
“Sometimes people that had been married for a long period of time, and they have a very strong dependency on each other, not only in love but in relationship and friendship when one of them passes away it’s not long until the other one goes,” he admitted.
Dr. Raines, who made the decision for Jimmy Carter to enter hospice care in February, explains that hospice care for dementia patients can result in a rapid acceleration of decline, as seen in Rosalynn’s case. He revealed that he did not expect her to pass away so soon after first being diagnosed with the disease six months ago.
The physician spoke about the Carters’ dedication to each other, describing them as “devoted” and consistently worried about one another. Despite their health issues, the couple managed to make public appearances, with their most recent one at the Plains Peanut Festival in September.
In the midst of the loss, Dr. Raines highlights the Carters’ continued dedication to pushing for rural healthcare in Plains, Georgia. He mentioned the closure of the Mercer Medicine Clinic in 2018 and how the Carters, with the help of Mercer University, successfully advocated for its reopening. The clinic now serves residents not only in Plains but also from surrounding cities, addressing the healthcare gap in areas where local hospitals have closed.
Rosalynn Carter’s impact on rural healthcare was highlighted by Dr. Raines, who said that she left a remarkable legacy that will be felt for generations to come.
While there is a lot of sadness surrounding her passing, Dr. Raines remarked that the Carters’ down-to-earth nature, their love for Plains, and their humanitarian work has positively influenced the region.