Features — 31 October 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
New KHMH DMS, Dr. Lisa Johnson, discusses vision for hospital

BELIZE CITY–For the first time in its 19 years of existence, the medical staff of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) will be managed by a female Director of Medical Services in the person of Dr. Lisa Johnson, who replaces Dr. Adrian Coye, the former Director who was appointed as the new KHMH Chief Executive Officer (CEO) three weeks ago.

Amandala understands that Johnson, who had also applied for the post of CEO, was offered the job as the second most senior staffer at the country’s flagship hospital after a close vote at a meeting of the KHMH board of governors that was held on Friday, October 10, 2014.

Today, she took the opportunity to introduce herself to the public which, according to Johnson, will be served with the utmost empathy at the KHMH while she is in charge as Director.

She said, “Sometimes you get caught up in the moment as you are dealing with patients and you try your very best and I will tell you that most, if not every doctor and nurse, as they are dealing with a patient, and not necessarily a trauma patient but every patient, have a stake in how that patient does, and they are very much engaged, and not only engaged, but are extremely empathetic to the situation that we find our patients in. It’s something that I said a lot in the emergency room, and I think that we all feel that way a lot of times when we see our patients. We need to understand that it is possible that it is that patient’s or relative’s worst day, and sometimes, unfortunately, it may be that patient’s last day, and we strive to give excellent patient care and to also treat patients with dignity.”

Apart from improving public relations, the new Director also intends to enhance patient care.

“The task will be pretty multifaceted, because we’re not only talking about the quality of service, [but also about] the operating skills and knowledge. I went to medical school. I went through residency. I went through fellowship. We are not necessarily trained to relate well — what used to be the old-style of bedside manners. There are times, particularly, when some of my staff are at the front lines dealing with very difficult situations. We recognize that, and we recognize too that they require some assistance in dealing with the public. We don’t always get to say the right thing at the right time every single time. That is human, we recognize it, but we also know that we need to improve not only just our ability to diagnose and to treat a particular clinical condition, but we also recognize that we need to relate to our patients in a better manner”, she noted.

Dr. Johnson promised to initiate a new education campaign to make members of the public more aware of specific services of the hospital, including those which are normally overlooked and unmentioned.

She is the first woman to complete postgraduate training in general surgery at the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the first graduate of that program to complete a trauma fellowship.

She joined the KHMH in January of 2014 as the Clinical Coordinator of Emergency Services, and has reportedly been in the medical profession for 20 years, 11 as a specialist.

Johnson has extensive experience in her field, having trained and worked in both the Caribbean and North America, in both public and private hospitals, including in Jamaica as a Consultant General Surgeon at St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, and in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on a clinical fellowship with the University of Toronto from 2012-13, in addition to a stint at the Belize Healthcare Partners Limited, a private medical institution, from 2003 to 2007.

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