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Bustamante Hospital marks 50 years

Published:Thursday | November 7, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Lady Allen, wife of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (left); Kenny Benjamin (right), chairman of the Bustamante Hospital for Children board; Lyttleton Shirley (centre), board chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority, along with children and staff at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, release 50 balloons at the 50th anniversary health fair at the hospital yesterday. - RUDOLPH BROWN/PHOTOGRAPHER

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

Half-a-century old and hundreds of thousands of lives saved, the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC) celebrated its golden anniversary yesterday by hosting Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen, and a health fair.

The Governor General and Lady Allen usually tour the island's hospitals later in the year, but brought up their visit to BHC to coincide with the anniversary. Sir Patrick said the hospital, Jamaica's first children's hospital, is their first stop.

"I think they (children) need that type of priority. They must come first in what we do," he said. Sir Patrick lauded staff, from the medical teams to the groundskeepers, for making BHC a world-class institution.

Success story

"They (the public) can have that assurance and confidence that when their children come to Bustamante ... they are well taken care of in a clean, sanitised environment."

He said BHC's achievements, despite economic hardships, were a success story that needed to be told. Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority Lyttleton Shirley pointed to the expansion of services at BHC, including specialised surgeries, and having Jamaica's first and only paediatric burn unit. He said that by early 2014, the hospital would also have the most modern cardiac wing in Jamaica.

"I am confident that the founding pioneers ... are all pleased with the progress that has been made over the years," he said. "We have a lot more to look forward to and a lot more to achieve."

Tributes were paid to the BHC's first senior medical officer, the late Dr Liela Wynter-Wedderburn. Dr Wedderburn, along with the Friends of the BHC, transported the first set of children from the Kingston Public Hospital to the then-named Children's Hospital. A former British Military Hospital, it was renamed in 1977 in honour of former Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante.