Mon | May 17, 2021

St Ann doctors still committed to serve despite closures

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2020 | 12:26 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

Doctors in St Ann are still committed to offering healthcare amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and other illnesses, despite the closure of several offices in the parish.

Several doctor offices remain open, and those who have closed their facilities are accessible via telephone and social media.

A document circulated recently indicated that several doctors in Brown’s Town have closed their offices since Wednesday but remain accessible to the public. These include three doctors at the Burlington Medical Centre and two at deCarteret Medical Centre. However, the document states that the offices of Doctors Alford Jones, Robert Anaje, and Yolanda HoSang, all in Brown’s Town, remain open.

A spokesperson from Burlington confirmed the authenticity of the document on Monday.

“We are aware of that document. It is correct. Persons just have to call the numbers, and we will provide information to them,” she said.

She added that persons have been making use of the new arrangement, and calls have been coming in, with persons getting information as necessary.

The spokesperson said there was not set date for reopening as this would depend on developments locally.

The document states, in part: “In relation to the corona pandemic affecting Jamaica and the world, our major concerns as it relates to providing medical services to our clients are: (1) To protect you from possible infection while visiting our medical facilities; and (2) To protect ourselves and our staff from being infected while examining a COVID-19 positive patient, which would then mean that we would have to self-isolate for at least 14 days and so be unavailable to our other patients.” It added that while the physical offices are closed, doctors remained on call.

A voice note also being circulated names several other doctors who have either closed or are thinking of closing their practice because of the coronavirus, among them Dr Osmond Tomlinson, who has been practising in Ocho Rios for 30 years.

He dismissed the voice note as fake.

“For the record, I am a private physician working in Ocho Rios for the last 30 years. I work hard. I always try and stay healthy, I always try and keep my patients healthy regardless of whether there is an outbreak of anything, whether it’s dengue, Chik-V or anything and this outbreak is no different. Any voice notes you may have heard, fake news,” Tomlinson explained to The Gleaner.

He said he first heard of the voice note from a friend in New York who, after hearing the note, called him to enquire if he was OK.

Essential service

“I have no intention of closing because I offer what I consider to be an essential service to the community that I serve, which is Ocho Rios and its environs. I am concerned about this outbreak but I’m not scared, I’m not panicking. I’m doing what I have been trained to do and I’m trying to impart that knowledge to my patients so that they and their families can also maintain their health and safety.”

For family psychologist Sidney McGill, serving clients via social media is nothing new for him and since the advent of the coronavirus, this practice has increased.

“I’ve been seeing patients on WhatsApp video, Zoom, or Skype. I’ve been doing that before the scare but now I’m just doing it more,” Dr McGill pointed out.

He is urging Jamaicans to think differently as they try to keep themselves safe from the virus.

“The fear of the virus is worse than the virus itself,” McGill said, and suggested that when people are fearful they tend to hear the news differently than what is being reported.

“I’m thinking, it’s best if you behave as if you have it rather than to think that you’re the one who doesn’t have it and everybody else has it. Just flip it around so that you become more conscious.”