HUMPHREYS, J. MD
a family doctor in Antigua
Where do you currently work?
Generally, I enjoy my private practice (Optimum Health Clinic Ltd) in Antigua, and the excellent working relationship I share with my colleagues, particularly, Dr Rasheda Williams at Belmont Medical and Surgical Inpatient Center. I enjoy the fulfilment of my practice and the opportunity to assist so many in their attempts to lead healthy lives.
My most noted mentor is Dr Eumel Samuel, former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Medical Association and current chairman of the Medical Council. Dr Samuel took me under his wings and nurtured my growth to the point where I could be an independent and confident physician.
In addition to my medical profession, I also am a passionate missionary. I have always had a zeal for helping others and always sought every opportunity to do so. My big chance came, in 2010, when I travelled to Haiti during the period of its devastating earthquake. I worked in the field and in its hospitals while trying to assist in rural clinics and shelters. Needless to say, I went to Haiti to help the Haitians. I never truly understood how much the situation in Haiti would have helped me to appreciate the simple things in life even more. I have since done mission trips to South America (yearly), Eastern Europe and locally in Antigua and Barbuda.
What does being a family doctor mean to you in your country?
Sometimes scoffed at, sometimes barely tolerated and hardly recognized for what we are worth. This is my experience as a family physician in Antigua and Barbuda. Though some might disagree, there are countless other family physicians/GPs that share the same sentiments. Perhaps it is a genuine misunderstanding of the important role of family physicians or perhaps it is blatant disregard for the same. Whatever the reason, our experiences are real.
The internecine rivalry between family physicians and specialists is counterproductive and destroys the fiber of medical teamwork and proper patient care. It is not only the prejudice of some specialists, however, but some family physicians have an “inferiority complex” and lack the confidence in themselves while constantly harboring the notions that they are just “basically trained physicians”. Locally, I hope to see family physicians more involved in CME events and research. This will encourage respect among peers and within the medical fraternity.
Recently, my dear friend and mentor fell ill. I rushed to the hospital and after assessment; my colleague and I concluded that this patient had a myocardial infarct. As family physicians, my colleague and I were able to make a timely diagnosis, stabilize the patient under an Intensive Care situation and prepare the patient for specialist referral and management overseas. The Interventional Cardiologist was quite generous in his compliment regarding our life saving role in the patient’s management. This is a very important point: family doctors often temporarily “fill the gap” where specialist care is not immediately available.
There are a number of medical specialists who recognize the worth of family practitioners and I commend them for this.
What are your hobbies or passions outside work?
My motivation is family; my late mother Rosalind Nathan-Browne, my wife Gaylon and children Demanté, Devanté, Tiliyah, and Maria coupled with an incalculable passion for helping others. I appreciate every moment spent with my wife and children and the opportunity to be a leader and role model in my community. I enjoy playing music and singing; both of which were once full time jobs for me. Quiet dinners with family and close friends are priceless! I enjoy writing. I have authored several published books, magazines and newsletters. Oh, how could I forget my passion for travelling and adventure?
Yes, I am content being a family physician here Antigua. Our national anthem encourages us to, “raise the standard; raise it boldly
”. That is my objective. In Antigua, we have small hospitals/medical centers that are owned and operated by specialists. It is my intention to open a hospital; one that is owned and operated by a family physician.