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Swine flu death toll climbs - Health ministry mourns second doctor to die from H1N1 complications

Published:Sunday | March 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM
W. Billy Heaven (left), CEO of the CHASE Fund, shares a light moment with (from left) Gail Hudson, CEO of the St Joseph’s Hospital, Dr Denise Goffe, member of the St Joseph’s Hospital Board and driver, Matthew Taylor during the handover of the utility vehicle on January 29 at the St Joseph’s Hospital.

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton yesterday added his voice to those expressing regret at the death of Dr Denise Duncan Goffe, the second doctor locally to die from Influenza A (H1N1)-related complications.

"This is a difficult time for the entire team at the Ministry of Health. Dr Goffe was more than a colleague, she was family, having spent decades in the public health sector," said Tufton.

"Her achievements are many and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her on something that we are all passionate about - impacting the lives of the ordinary man through the provision of quality health care. It is never an easy thing to lose a loved one. We will lean on each other for support as we come to terms with this loss," added Tufton.

He has expressed condolences on behalf of the team at the Ministry of Health to the family, friends and colleagues of Goffe, who died yesterday morning at the University Hospital of the West Indies after a prolonged illness.

Tufton noted that Goffe was diagnosed with H1N1, but also had sother chronic medical illnesses.


Contribution to sector


In the meantime, permanent secretary in the health ministry, Dr Kevin Harvey, said over her years of service, Dr Goffe made a tremendous contribution to the development of the health sector.

According to Harvey, Goffe was instrumental in laying the foundation for the development of primary health care.

"We will surely miss her. My prayers are with her family and the entire team at the Ministry of Health at this time."

For Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye, the health sector has lost a true stalwart.

"Dr Goffe will be remembered for her enthusiasm and passion that was poured into her work. We are happy for every moment that we were able to share with her and will celebrate her life and achievements even as we mourn her passing."

Dr Goffe worked in the public health sector for more than 30 years. She retired in 2014 as Director, Health Service Planning and Integration in the Ministry of Health.

She was later employed to the South East Regional Health Authority as Clinical Quality Assurance Officer.

There have been 69 confirmed cases of HINI locally since the start of the year, with six persons diagnosed with the disease dying from other complications.