Sat | Feb 24, 2018

Andrews Memorial Hospital Changing Guard

Published:Wednesday | March 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMBarbara Ellington
Dr Patric Rutherford, outgoing head of Andrews Memorial Hospital.
Dr Marvin Rouhotas, new CEO and president of Andrews Memorial Hospital.

The 60-bed Andrews Memorial Hospital located along Hope Road in St Andrew will change leadership at the end of the month when Dr Patric Rutherford, who has been at the helm for the past 20 years, retires.

His successor, Dr Marvin Rouhotas, a specialist in tropical medicine, will be the new CEO and president on June 1. Dr Rouhotas, who is an American citizen, has more than 20 years leadership experience in hospital administration.

A trained health administrator with postgraduate degrees from both Loma Linda University in the United States of America and the Northern Caribbean University, Dr Rutherford first served as administrator but later assumed the position of president and CEO of the Seventh-day Adventist-owned hospital.

Under his watch, there has been many advances at Andrews. "We have tripled the size of the diagnostic building, improved our diagnostic services in terms of the quality of service offered to patients, added a new building and improved the old; we are comparable to the Tony Thwaites Wing at the University Hospital of the West Indies," Rutherford told The Gleaner in an interview last week.

There is, however, room for future expansion at the present location, and this is something that he would love to see happen under his successor's watch. Like other hospitals in Jamaica, there are periodic shortages but some of these are overcome through their sister relationship with Florida Hospital. These include help with equipment and medical expertise.

"We can call on their executives for help in planning, get advice on best practices in the industry, get resource personnel, and when patients are sent there directly from us, they get up to a 40 per cent discount on services," Rutherford said.

Other improvements during Rutherford's tenure include the hospital capacity growing from 30 to 60 beds, the number of operating rooms moving from one to four, the diagnostic building has also tripled in size, and its laboratory facilities improved to a point where Andrews is in great demand for offering one of the best services of its kind in Jamaica.

Dr Rutherford told The Gleaner that there is a lot to recommend the Andrews Memorial Hospital. "We provide quality service to our patients, the staff is well trained and friendly, in spite of many being lured overseas by better-paying jobs, we have invested in modern equipment, and we also offer specialty surgical procedures that are not done anywhere else in Jamaica."

Spiritual side

According to Dr Rutherford, "A part of what has made Andrews special is the spiritual side, which has also grown. We now have a full-time chaplain and services in the mornings. We are proud of the physical progress but are happy also that it has not been at the expense of nurturing the spiritual life of the hospital."

The hospital is making plans to improve its services in a number of other areas, including the further development of its cardiovascular programme.

"By 2017, we should be fully equipped to offer open heart surgery as we now have 90 per cent of the equipment in place," he added. He is also hoping that his successor will focus on developing the hospital's offerings to its younger patients as, "I would love to see Andrews with a full-service paediatrics facility."

As he heads into retirement, Dr Rutherford would like to be remembered for turning around the fortunes of the hospital to a point where it is among the most respected and sought after by patients, and they are the sole provider of physical examinations for persons emigrating to the United States of America. "Andrews is the best stand-alone private hospital. I feel good that I did not leave it as I found it. The best doctors want to work at Andrews. Most of the tools and equipment are modern, and for everything we do, we have the basic equipment in place. I am looking forward to the day when the hospital expands to a tower of six-eight storeys, with the two lower floors for parking."

Married with three children and four grandchildren, Dr Rutherford is looking forward to playing more tennis, learning golf and writing books in his retirement. His successor, Dr Rouhotas, will be joined in Jamaica by his wife, who is an ultrasonographer.