50 years ago: Mobile ice cream debuts, healthcare questions

In the Jan. 12, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Arthur Hunter wrote:

“Whittaker’s ice-cream caravan is fast becoming a familiar sight on our roads. It is the first of its kind in the island and is indicative of the enterprise of yet another Bodden Towner.

“On Saturday last, Mr. and Mrs. Mervyn Parsons of Pease Bay left the island for Jamaica, taking along with them their four-day-old baby. The purpose of their trip is to seek medical aid for the baby. This is but one of the many cases of travel abroad for medical aid within the last six months and one is forced to query the reason for such action. It is a lack of faith in our medical services? If so, this is a sorry state of affairs for which the present Director of Medical Services is in no way to be blamed.

“Each trip abroad for medical aid is invariably made at great physical inconvenience to the sick person and undoubtedly entails expenses of far greater proportions than Caymanians are accustomed to. Surely the money paid to U.S. and Jamaican hospitals and doctors could be more profitably used at home.

“The time is now ripe in the interest of all Caymanians for a re-appraisal of our medical services. Oft times we are told that our hospital is under control of the Director of Medical Services. The present incumbent being of long-standing experience and high academic qualifications. He is assisted in the medical field by an equally eminently qualified and experienced part-time practitioner. But yet it seems that they are unable to cope with the needs of our sick. Either the facilities at the hospital are inadequate, which means that the public is being continually mislead, or the workload is too heavy for the two practitioners, a fact that is perhaps attested to by the vast number of patients to be seen daily at their respective clinics awaiting treatment.

“Maybe the time is now at hand for the appointment of two doctors to the hospital, one physician to deal with the needs of the outpatient department and the other a surgeon for operations and specialist services. Such appointments coupled with the patently needed increased staff and facilities at the hospital would be money well spent. It should go a long way toward keeping sick Caymanians at home and the money they must spend on medical services in our own Government’s Treasury.

“Unquestionably the money spent overseas by Caymanians on medical aid in the last six months far exceeds the salary of a medical practitioner.”