Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Medz Foundation goes beyond the call of duty

Published:Saturday | October 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer
Fourth-year University of the West Indies, Mona campus, medical student Dr Mellesia Lee hands over a wheelchair to Kingston Public Hospital consultant Dr Konrad Lawson on Friday, September 21.
Some Kingston Public Hospital staff praying during a brief ceremony for the handover of wheelchairs on Friday, September 21. The equipment were donated by some University of the West Indies, Mona campus, fourth-year medical students through their Medz Foundation.
Back (from left): Kapel Dowe, Candice Watson, Dr Mellesia Lee, Kourdell Powell and Kyle McLaughlin, fourth-year medical students at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus. In front (from left): Kingston Public Hospital staff members, Dr Konrad Lawson (consultant), Dr Denise Bennett (consultant), Kellion Nelson (A&E charge nurse), Diane Buckley-Smith (A&E Department nurse supervisor), and Kathleen Cooper Brown (hospital administrator) are sitting in wheelchairs donated to the institution by the medical students.

Workers and other people at the entrance to the Accident and Emergency Department at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) are accustomed to see people being carried in and out of that space in stretchers and wheelchairs, which are very vital in the scheme of things in the busiest hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Recently, they saw five black and red wheelchairs in the said space, but the chairs were not occupied by people in dire need of medical attention.

Sitting in each chair was a staff member from the hospital, and standing behind each chair was a member of The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, medical sciences class of 2020. The students are also members of an entity called Medz Foundation, which had donated the wheelchairs to the department, a place which is very important to their practical training.

After a brief handover ceremony, The Gleaner spoke to some of those present.

Dr Mellesia Lee, holder of a doctor of philosophy degree, said the Medz Foundation decided to make the donation because they saw the need at KPH. They are students who are "highly stressed", but they see patients who are "sick and in need" in defective wheelchairs. So they decided to use some of the profits from their parties, thrown at the end of stressful exam periods, to get some wheelchairs.




"We are all happy ... . We were so excited when we got the wheelchairs," Lee said. The chairs were accessed locally from the Rotary Club at a subsidised cost.

Kathleen Cooper Brown, who was also very pleased with the gesture, said it was the first time she had seen such, in her tenure at KPH. Meanwhile, Dr Denise Bennett, in expressing her appreciation, said there was a great need for the chairs as there are emergencies all the time.

On behalf of the KPH, Dr Konrad Lawson said, "I would like to thank them for their generous gift ... and encourage them in this entrepreneurial spirit, and spirit of giving and sharing."

Turning to the students, he continued: "It is something to be encouraged in medical students, because this kind of giving from the heart is something that you are going to continue to do for the rest of your lives as doctors."

Dr Lawson said the need at KPH is great, and that there are many areas to look at, so the foundation could extend its generosity to other areas. He even suggested that the foundation collaborate with the hospital to understand the areas of greatest need.