Our Readers' Opinions
November 29, 2013
That letter from the pen of Dr A. Cecil Cyrus

Fri Nov 29, 2013

Editor: That single letter from the pen of Doctor A. Cecil Cyrus in the newspaper on Friday, the 15th day of November, 2013, has done more good for the health services of this country than the accumulated efforts of the Ministry of Health for the past 20 years.

It was a timely letter, with a public declaration of praise for the delivery of health care services at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Dr A. Cecil Cyrus did not keep the good news to himself. He shared it privately and publicly.{{more}}

That single letter has totally destroyed all the adverse comments of unpatriotic persons, whose frantic and erratic antics were designed to undermine confidence in the administration and delivery of health care services in this country and to scare away citizens from the hospital.

Some radio talk show hosts, who are perhaps, not qualified for employment elsewhere and who berated and poured scorn on the services at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and posed as being authoritative in their pronouncements should now hang their heads in shame. It is questionable whether such critics know where to find the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

The radical, revolutionary and robust changes at all level of the staff at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital did not come about from the injection of millions of dollars in the purchasing of medical supplies or sophisticated equipment or machinery, which perhaps now sit idle as white elephants unmanned for want of trained personnel to operate them. The change – internal and external – resulted from a single letter of gratitude from a man at high altitude of our medical system Dr A. Cecil Cyrus. All of a sudden, as if overnight, the hospital has become a different place where fear, gloom, despair and hopelessness have disappeared. When people are appreciated and recognised for their efforts, radical changes take place. Money alone can’t do that.

Dr Cyrus, one of the greatest surgeons in the world, has commended the doctors, nurses and workers at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital who were so professional in the execution of their skills and in the administration of the delivery of health care services.


It was really refreshing to read Dr A. Cecil Cyrus’ letter, so beautifully and elegantly written and so masterfully crafted. As an excellent surgeon, that letter demonstrated that “excellence” is a trademark in everything that he does – it is a habit – a way of life which compels him to pay close attention to details. It’s like a compulsive passion to do things right every time.

Thank you, Doctor Cyrus for that morale-boosting letter. The transformational effects of it are already visible on the smiling faces of doctors, nurses, and indeed all workers at the hospital. What a pleasant and courteous group of people nurses are. That letter was like magic. After all, doctors and nurses and workers at the hospital are people too – people who need to be appreciated, complimented, recognised, loved and respected from grateful hearts. After all, they go beyond the call of duty to offer the best care for their patients. Why should some political crank in an erratic manner oppose even what is good for him or her and then besmirch the good name of our personnel at the hospital and the good institution which noble men and women have built?


That single letter has radically transformed the thinking of many about the hospital. After all, the great Dr A. Cecil Cyrus was a patient there for surgery and his sojourn there was happily successful and pleasant and the experience triggered profuse praise from the highest and most credible, knowledgeable and competent source – Dr. A. Cecil Cyrus himself! What a great man! What a great patriot! What a great demonstration of love for the poor and indigent who can’t afford to go abroad for surgery. Dr A. Cecil Cyrus can afford to go anywhere in the world for surgery, but he chose to go to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and by so doing elevated it to be perceived as the best.


It was Dr Cyrus who ushered into this land, the modern age of surgery. It was he who authored the classic “Pathological Atlas,” relating to surgical procedures and uncommon diseases – a book which is a classic in the field of medical science and which is treasured by university medical students and professors who are fortunate to get a copy of it. It was the same Dr Cyrus who delivered more papers at international medical conferences than many other living surgeons in the world. Can you imagine that the patient at the Milton Cato Memorial hospital was the real Dr A. Cecil Cyrus, whose creative genius enabled him with God’s help to perform miraculous surgical procedures, which were thought to be impossible even in more developed countries where resources are not so limited? Going to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, not withstanding advice to the contrary, was a demonstration of faith and a public vote of confidence in the doctors and nurses at that hospital. It was in the nature of a national rescue mission to save the hospital from the venomous tongues of the ignorant and politically reckless. May God continue to bless Dr Cyrus and family abundantly. No greater vote of confidence could have been given to the doctors, nurses and workers at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.


Dr A Cecil Cyrus has always been considered as a national icon, but the publication of that single revolutionary letter of gratitude has made him immortal. He provided a quantum leap in the enhancement of the quality of medical services in this blessed land and established a high standard which any caring government should assiduously strive and aspire to maintain. Please live long, Dr Cyrus. A letter like that coming from a political crank would have been easily brushed aside; but one from Dr A. Cecil Cyrus must arrest national attention, for apart from coming from a credible, knowledgeable and authoritative source it carries weight and ushered in a new and glorious day for the delivery of health care in St Vincent and the Grenadines. After that letter, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital has become the best place to go for health care. Compassionate, competent and caring nurses like Freda Leonty would now feel vindicated for her personal sacrifices, for the greatest isolated surgeon in the world has been lavish in his praise for our nurses. From her very early childhood, Nurse Ynolde Smart showed signs of great leadership skills and a penchant for compassionate care. Like Dr Dougan and Dr Hazell, she resides in the East St George constituency, well known for producing excellent national leaders.


Dr A. Cecil Cyrus’s letter also triggered a little research which revealed that both Dr Dougan and Dr Sam Hazell, two names mentioned by him in his letter, are back home after distinguished medical careers in the United States of America, as eminent professors – Dougan from Ratho Mill and Dr Hazell from Paget Farm, Bequia – a man who believes in the effective prayer of the righteous and whose poetic and public discourses expose his intellectual depth and mastery of scientific principles which reveal the foolishness of atheism.

It is, therefore, not too hard to understand why Dr A. Cecil Cyrus was restored to health and vigour so marvellously. Victor Hugo was right: “The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved;” and I further agree with Dr A. Cecil Cyrus that: “A good nurse was worth her weight in clinical gold.” That is so true from my own experience.

I salute you, Dr Cyrus, as a great patriot, and as an international and highly respected and supremely gifted surgeon who knows the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital better than any other living Vincentian.


Dr A. Cecil Cyrus is undoubtedly the best known isolated surgeon in the world. He is the best living candidate, I know, deserving of this country’s highest award, whether or not he supports the Government. He is not a bootlicker for sure. He is a supporter of the people, inclusive of poor people. On sheer merit he deserves our country’s highest award for successfully achieving in just one letter what many political administrations could not achieve – please continue to let your light shine in the dark corridors of power everywhere. It would be a wonderful demonstration of national joy if for just one (1) hour a day the Ministry of Health could secure the services of Dr Cyrus as a consultant. What a difference his authoritative presence would make in the Ministry of Health! The Government should be highly commended for recently giving successful students a monetary incentive for doing well in their examinations. It would be a more wonderful and tangible treasure if the Government make available as a gift to every worker in the Ministry of Health a copy of Dr Cyrus’ book – “A Pathological Atlas”. What a wonderful gift that would be! I hope copies are still available – if not – the Government can use its coercive and unlimited power to commission a reprint for delivery to the whole medical fraternity – perhaps that would help to trigger the much needed revolution in our health services.

R. Theodore L.V. Browne