News

A bullet cannot dim Dr Barry Dixon's humanity

BY MARK CUMMINGS cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 16, 2012    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — It was an atmosphere of complete reverence and respect as hundreds packed the St James Parish Church last Friday to bid farewell to prominent Montego Bay Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, Dr Barrington Dixon.

Among the mourners were Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson, Member of Parliament Dr Horace Chang, and a host of members of the medical and business community.

Tribute after tribute painted the late Dr Dixon as a meticulous and humane individual who touched the lives of many — both near, and far.

"Dr Dixon loved life; he saved lives and he lived a good life," said Allison Cooke-Hawthorne in her remembrance.

"He always had a penchant for healing and saving lives," she stressed.

The affable 66-year-old, served the medical profession for almost 32 years, rising to the position of senior medical officer at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, a position he held for 20 years, until his retirement.

During his time at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Cooke-Hawthorne said, he was instrumental in reducing the infant mortality rate and contributed to the overall health and welfare of the nation.

She said Dr Dixon envisaged a multi-speciality health care facility where quality advanced personalised health care could be offered, hence he along with his sisters Jennifer, and Joan established the Barnett Clinic in Montego Bay.

"His love for that clinic and his yearning to see growth were very hard to ignore," she argued.

Dr Dixon died in the Cornwall Regional Hospital on September 1, after he was shot by gunmen at his Spring Gardens home in St James.

Dr Ferguson in delivering his tribute at the thanksgiving service, noted that Dr Dixon was amongst the first set of graduates to be trained in obstetrics and gynaecology in the island. His reputation as a physician and stellar humanitarian, he argued, "cannot be dimmed by any gunman's bullet".

"And in fact those responsible for his death, there is a great possibility that they were delivered in this world by him," Dr Ferguson added.

He said the medical profession and the island's health service has lost "one of its finest sons".

"We are all poorer without his brilliant, analytic and clinical skills which he willingly dispensed," Dr Ferguson said, adding that the late doctor must be credited for the building of the obstetrics and gynaecology practice in western Jamaica.

"He aided in the development of many specialists in this area and achieved high levels of clinical performance," he said.

"He always displayed exceptional leadership in additional to his vast store of knowledge and clinical skills, and he cared for all his patients equally and displayed humility and selflessness in so doing."

And senior medical officer at the Cornwall Regional Hospital Dr Delroy Fray, in his tribute, described the late doctor "as a man who moved mountains effortlessly for those who were in need of health care, and a man who is so gifted in his field that complications were fables".

According to Dr Fray, Dr Dixon had implemented a raft of changes for the betterment of health care during his tenure at the hospital.

"He impacted the lives of many of us... medical students, nursing students, young doctors in training... every member of the health team," he stressed.

He noted that under Dr Dixon's watch at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, the hospital expanded its services by adding many specialities, and improved the quality of health care at the facility.

Dr Dixon also served as board chairman of Cornwall College for almost six years, where he reportedly made several changes to enhance the delivery of quality education.

And in his homily Rev Robert Patmore urged the congregation not to react violently to Dr Dixon's death, but instead trust in God.

Dr Dixon's remains were interred at the Carisbrook Moravian Church cemetery in St Elizabeth.

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