Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Why I stayed at KPH

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Debby-Ann McKenzie-Cooks (left), deputy director of services, and Dr Lundberg Simpson, acting head of Surgery at the Kingston Public Hospital.

Debby-Ann McKenzie-Cooks admits that the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) is not the easiest place to work. However, despite the many attractive offers she has received, both locally and internationally, which promised improved working conditions and increased remuneration, she has opted to stay.

In an interview with The Gleaner, in recognition of the institution's 240th year, the deputy director of services said that the gratitude that patients have shown over the years has fuelled her to push through the challenges.

"It's the appreciation of the people. Hearing persons saying thank you, and they genuinely mean it because they were depending on me to take care of them. Just that mere appreciation of the service that I am giving to the people, and they realise that without the service, things could have been worse," she said.




"It wasn't a hard decision because I got the opportunity to get better remuneration and to go elsewhere, but I chose to stay at KPH, especially since I have benefited from the service as a patient," she continued.

For Dr Hugh Wong, head of the Accidents and Emergency Unit at the hospital, the past 20 years have presented various hurdles and challenges. He said, however, that he has no regrets in making KPH his home away from home.

"I think I am making a contribution to the institution, and to the country as whole, that probably, if I were somewhere else, I wouldn't be able to make such an impact. I've been abroad as well. I did some local work elsewhere, and it wasn't the same, so I ran back home," he said, laughing.

"We do save lives on a personal basis. We do that daily. We see deaths as well, and we share the grief with the relatives. It's rewarding, and that's why people do medicine. You make an impact on personal lives, give them an extra year or two or the rest of their lives," Kong said.

"I've not given much thought to going elsewhere or being elsewhere. After a while, KPH is your job. You jump in your car, you point downtown, and you reach. I had the opportunity to go to University (Hospital of the West Indies) as well, and when I left, I didn't look back," he said.