The love-hate relationship that medical doctor Jose Humphreys has enjoyed and endured in his country for almost a decade seems to have taken a decided turn against him in recent days.
Dr. Humphreys is reported to have received a letter from the Antigua and Barbuda Medical Council on May 9th informing him that his license to practice had not been renewed, and he was for that matter removed from the list of recognized medical practitioners in the State.
Dr. Humphreys has been the object of almost fanatical affection by patients and supporters who swear by the efficacy of his interventions which they describe as a creative mix of conventional and alternative or natural medicine therapies – both of which he is reported to have been extensively trained in – coupled with a strong touch of Christian compassion which they say is consistent with his personal upbringing and faith.
But that is the love side of Dr. Humphreys’ acceptance. The hate flip side has been his struggles against the resistance of a medical establishment not convinced that his academic and professional qualifications meet the required standards of accreditation for him to be licensed as a medical practitioner within the State of Antigua and Barbuda.
It is a long story with many different parts and an exhaustingly long paper trail of certificates and credentials, of letters and court documents, of judgment and appeal – but one which we must summarize for conciseness of time and space in this issue.
The back-and-forth about Dr. Humphrey’s eligibility had been going on for some time when finally he was licensed in 2011. Accusations of elitism had been levelled at the licensing body, the Medical Council, not only in respect of Dr. Humphreys, but for its perceived “looking down” on Cuban-trained doctors.
That issue appears to have even split the membership of the Medical Association into those who trained in Cuba and/or supported them, and the more traditional medics outputted by UWI and other institutions of more prestigious regard.
When the time came for his license to be renewed in 2013, the Medical Council turned down Dr. Humphreys. The matter went to the High Court which upheld the Council’s decision. Dr. Humphrey’s prevailed at the Appeal Court and his license was reinstated.
However, the latest action by the Medical Council goes beyond license renewal. By removing him from the list of authorized medical practitioners, it seems he has in effect been erased from recognition as a doctor.
The letter from the Medical Council was said to have been delivered to him by a bailiff, ordering the young practitioner to return his Certificate of Registration as he had been, it reportedly states, ‘registered in error’.
Dr. Humphreys, we have been reliably informed, was also instructed by the Medical Council’s letter to immediately cease all practice of medicine.