The Jose Humphreys saga: We are persuaded of better things . . .

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The seemingly nonstop saga involving popular medic Dr. Jose Humphreys and the Medical Council of Antigua and Barbuda does not seem about to go away, despite the leaking of a letter (published in yesterday’s Daily OBSERVER) that the Council wrote to Dr. Humphreys earlier this year, informing him of its decision to strike him off the register of licensed medical practitioners and outlining its reasons for doing so.

But if anyone thought that the Council’s case was ironclad and Dr. Humphrey’s hopes of winning any reconsideration had been decisively sunk by what seemed a comprehensive refutation of all his protestations – as articulated by his lawyer and myriad supporters – subsequent reactions and developments suggest that it’s far from being a settled matter in which Dr. Humphrey’s has been debunked, nailed or exposed as any reader of that letter might be forgiven for thinking.

Friends of Dr. Humphrey – a very determined, intense and vociferous lobby of loyal patients, colleagues, spiritual brethren and others who swear by what they consider a victimized and persecuted hero – have been supplying us with information and documents that they interpret as proof that even the Medical Council’s seemingly clinical demolition of Dr. Humphreys is itself an example of slipshod dishonesty.

One such message to us from the impassioned Humphreys constituency read in part: In paragraph 7 of today’s paper, the letter from the Medical Council to Dr. Jose Humphreys asserts that the American International School of Medicine [AISM] was only REGISTERED by the National Accreditation Council of Guyana on the 29th June 2018, some 7 years after Dr. Humphreys would have graduated.

The actual certificate submitted to the Council is attached. In their quest to discredit him they have overlooked the fact that the certificate reads CERTIFICATE OF RE-REGISTRATION and not registration. So to say that the School was not registered at the time of his graduation is an outright and verifiable untruth – in other words, a lie!

The message did not provide us with proof that AISM was registered with the Guyana authorities at the time, in the year, that Dr. Humphrey’s graduated from that institution – in other words, was he covered by its accreditation status at the time it conferred on him the qualifications for the course of studies he had pursued in the field of medicine?

But based on the documentation submitted to us yesterday, it would appear that the Medical Council got it wrong in concluding that AISM was only registered with the National Accreditation Council of Guyana for the first time in 2018, or seven years after Dr. Humphrey graduated from that institution.

Another message from Dr. Humphreys’ friends and supporters was even more pointed: Paragraph 4 of today’s paper states [the Medical] Council as asserting that American International School of Medicine [AISM] is not certified by CAAM-HP, the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions.

The fact is this is not a requirement for registration, period, as admitted by Dr. Walwyn under oath. She concluded it is an entirely voluntary process. She admitted that no school, including the University of the West Indies where she graduated, has full accreditation from CAAM-HP. Read pages 109 and 110 of the court transcript.

Why should accreditation apply only to the university from which Dr. Humphreys graduated?

Again, we did read the copy of the court transcript as suggested by the advocates for Dr. Humphreys and they do appear to bear out the points they are making in – if not refutation – but certainly in credible challenge to the requirements which the Medical Council has placed on Dr. Humphrey’s if he wants to ever again be listed on the register of medical practitioners licensed to practice in the State of Antigua and Barbuda – namely, that he must write those recommended CAAM-HP exams, and he must undergo an approved program of internship at a medical facility recognized for this purpose – the Mount St. John’s Medical Center being the only institution which fits that bill in this country.

Should Dr. Humphrey’s just submit and write the CAAM-HP exams? We don’t know and can’t make a recommendation one way or the other. Our expectation is that given how far he’s come in terms of studies and practice in the field, such exams should present no challenge to him. He should make light work of them, blazing through those papers in a fraction of the time allotted. But that could be just our naïve assumptions and misunderstanding or ignorance about what’s really involved.

Same with the internship, we have mused; maybe Dr. Humphreys, after he has turned CAAM-HP into just another walk in the park, should do the required internship for which he will likely be granted large chunks of exemptions when his prior knowledge and mastery of the various stages, components, programs and modules will become (perhaps embarrassingly) apparent to his internship supervisors. Perhaps what was meant to be a one-year internship will eventually be shaved down to three months when they realize he already knows, has already mastered and moved far beyond what the internship is meant to foster.

Again, we don’t know, but we cannot help but notice what seems to be the goodwill of Cabinet towards Dr. Humphreys in this matter and the stated willingness to assist and facilitate him in becoming regularized to the Medical Council’s demands. We would like to believe that the consultancy offered to him within the Ministry of Health may be intended to provide him with a level of financial support to compensate for the loss of income from the closure of his practice, and the costs that would be incurred in pursuit of that CAAM-HP qualification and subsequent internship – the preparation for them included.

For the good of an evidently good-hearted man, peace between him and the medical authorities of his native country, and the many people who so believe in and swear by him as their healthcare provider, we hope and pray that this matter gets resolved to the satisfaction and benefit of all.

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