Takeaway from Gabriel J. Christian, President of Rebuild Dominica Inc.

This is a teachable moment which surrounds Dr. Sam Christian’s injury and the noble efforts made by many at home and abroad to save his life. 

 

Dr. Christian’s accident was a tragedy. However, it presents us with a unique opportunity. What is that opportunity?

 

Well, the opportunity resides in our people hereafter commitment ourselves to building an institutional framework focused on meritocracy and a process which exalts collaboration between Dominican health care professionals at home and abroad. We saw in the care Dr. Sam Christian received input from the Dominican doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and those overseas like Dr. Dale Dangleben of Pennsylvannia, Dr. Karen Robinson of Seattle Washington, exchanging ideas and making recommendations for the best management of Dr. Sam Christian’s injuries. The overseas doctors exchanged ideas with Dr. Thomas, Dr. George, Dr. Pascal, Dr. Shillingford-Ricketts and others to craft the best approach for Dr. Sam Christian. We must strive to make this extraordinary effort of shared competence something which is normative not simply a one of type experience to benefit one man. I think I speak for Dr. Sam Christian when I say this would be his sentiment.

 

That mutual respect and collaborative ethic is what spurred us to form the Dominica Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2000. The co-founder of the Dominica Academy Raglan Riviere was the former PMH hospital administrator. Indeed, Raglan may have been the first Dominican trained overseas in hospital administration. Be that as it may, we sought to unite the respective competences of Dominican health professionals at home and abroad into a coherent framework without regard to political allegiance or personal affinity. Such a professional approach affords Dominicans the best opportunity in medical care as it focuses on meritocracy – the essence of which is to select and advance those who are most competent to do the job.

 

The lessons that I take from Dr. Sam Christian’s treatment and his record of service in trying to promote health care and collaboration between our health professionals at home and abroad are:

 

  1. Together we do better. Government and Opposition, Dominicans at home and abroad showed a unity of purpose in securing the best available health care for Dr. Sam Christian. We want to work toward a day when all Dominicans who need care can benefit from such unity of purpose and a more efficient and effective healthcare dispensation.

 

  1. We can utilize our skills in health care from wherever it is located on the globe by working through a robust telemedicine protocol via which competences are exchanged and brought to bear on any given medical issue.

 

  1. Let meritocracy drive the medical services process – by all means limit partisanship.  When one is fighting to save a life that must always be the laser-like focus.

 

  1. Organization of an annual Dominica Diaspora Medical Collaborative. Instead of simply doing an annual Creole festival focused on the musical arts, let us broaden our approach to development. Let us organize that annual medical services event where the hundreds of skilled health care professionals of Dominican heritage can conference with their local counterparts to exchange best practices. By such an effort Dominica can   become a model for health care services.

 

We have every respect and the most profound gratitude for those who aided Dr. Sam Christian or who offered prayers and support from all sides. We desire that all Dominicans, not just Dr. Sam Christian, benefit from such a culture of caring for each other.

 

It is with that in mind Dr. Sam Christian wrote this article in 2002 stating his vision for Dominica’s healthcare system and efforts toward that beneficial end – https://www.thedominican.net/articles/medical.htm.

 

Dr. Sam Christian was of modest means because he took payment in cucumbers or yams when his patients could not pay.  In his practice he placed patient care above and beyond a fee. That approach of “patient care first” endeared him to the masses and they returned that love to him over the weekend of December 1st through 2nd (2018) when his injuries laid him low. For that we give thanks

 

We can only ask God to bless his professional colleagues, the PMH health care workers, the many overseas Dominica health professionals and Government and Opposition folk for acting in a fashion which points a positive way forward.

 

May we proceed then to build that organizational capacity which we sought to effect with the Dominica Academy of Arts & Sciences. See here –  http://ragriv.powweb.com/healthpage.html

 

In taking such a reasoned approach, we can turn a negative into a positive which benefits the national family.

GoFundMe Fundraiser by Friends of Dr. Sam Christian

Rebuild Dominica Inc keeps our beloved Dr. Sam Christian — our Director of Medical Operations in Dominica — in prayer. Please consider clicking the “DONATE” button above to contribute to The Christian family’s fundraiser. Every bit of support helps to ensure his medical care in Martinique is covered.

Dr. Sam Christian

The following is a note from the fundraiser:

“On Saturday, December 1,  our dear friend, brother, care giver,  &  Director of Medical Operations for Rebuild Dominica, Inc — Dr. Sam Christian — was involved in a terrible car accident that left him in critical condition at the Princess Margaret Hospital on the island of Dominica. In  a most unfortunate turn of events, a car rolled over Dr. Sam, resulting in a broken pelvis along with other major organ damage.  We are still trying to wrap our heads around the enormous extent of his injuries. Yet we thank God that he is still alive!

While many were fleeing the island after the devastating hurricane in 2018,  as a trained surgeon,  Dr. Sam Christian  chose to remain on the island,  treating the Dominican people for everything from cuts and fractures to post-traumatic stress disorder.  In fact, he was one of the first on the scene to help immediately following the hurricane, while his family overseas worried about his own safety.

In a 2002 article posted on the dominican.net, Sam prophetically wrote:-
“Dominicans are most often transferred overseas for diagnosis, radiation and complex orthopedic and burn surgery. Even in the United States, it makes sense to transfer certain critically ill patients to large University Hospitals.”

He also wrote in that same article:
“Dominican overseas Doctors (D.O.D.) shall commit to return home every 3 to 5 years to relieve and augment the pressing medical manpower situation in Dominica. This lends itself to our sense of tithing in the universe.
It would not be construed as an imposition. While people hate to be made to feel obligated, commitment is therapeutic.”

Now, more than 15 years later, he finds himself desperately needing the very care that he described as lacking in Dominica.  He finds himself needing to be flown by Med Evacuation to nearby Martinique  immediately, as the first step in what will be a long journey to save and restore his life.

Dr. Sam spent all of his life caring for others. His work as a doctor has  always been focused on helping the least fortunate in our communities, knowing very well that it meant that he would sacrifice a “comfortable” life by world standards,  in exchange for deeply caring for others with the medical skills that God has given him.

Our prayers are with Dr. Christian and his family during these trying times. Let us also pray  that he will recover from these incredibly traumatic injuries. And let us show our love  and support for Dr. Christian and his family by giving  generously towards his medical expenses.

No amount is to little or too large. Thank you so very much for your support.

Sincerely,

Friends of Dr. Sam Christian”