Goodbye, Dr. St. Jean
Health officials struggle with the sudden death of Dr. Phillip St. Jean
Davis Letang, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health says Dr. Phillip St. Jean, who died last week, served the Ministry of Health for "quite a number of years" and from all reports he was a very much liked doctor at all the districts where he served.
Dr. St. Jean was employed directly in the primary health care sector and was the District Medical Officer for the Roseau Health District.
Specifically, he helped in implementing the Miracle Eye Mission, a programme sponsored by the Governments of Venezuela and Dominica, which provided eye care for the less fortunate.
Letang said Dr. St. Jean, 55, has left a legacy.
"For those still in the health care system, when we reflect on the life of Dr. St. Jean, we will recognize that there is some good lessons for us as we continue to care for our people. It's a sad day for us in the Ministry of Health," he said.
Additionally, Health Minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, said he was especially saddened by the passing of Dr. St. Jean since he knew him for a number of years.
"He was quiet, honest and unassuming yet a very bright and competent physician…I think this needs to be underscored," he said.
Dr. Darroux said the physician's death also highlights the point that no one knows the hour when one's life on earth will end.
"I have been informed that he went through the day routinely; he did his full clinic, cleared his quota of patients at the Roseau Health Centre only to be taken to the Accident and Emergency Department later that evening," Dr. Darroux said.
Dr. Laura Esprit, the Director of Primary Health Care said she was shocked when she heard the news of Dr. St. Jean death.
In fact, the operations at the Roseau Health Centre were suspended on March 8, 2018 after the staff received the news.
Dr. Esprit, who was Dr. St. Jean's immediate supervisor, struggled to deal with her colleague's sudden passing.
"I only learnt of his death on my arrival at work…I have to call his family and have to be strong with the staff so I am not yet in a position to speak but it's just sad for us here at the moment," she said.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. David Johnson was out of state and was not available for comment.