Condolences on the passing of Dr. Cecil Bethel

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Cecil Bethel

Message of condolence from Minister Of Health, Dr. The Hon. Duane Sands on the passing of Cecil Bethel MBBS, MRCPE, MRCPG, FRCPE, FRCPG AND MBE:

Today we mourn the passing of our dear esteemed colleague, friend, mentor and a giant of the health profession. Dr. Cecil W.M. Bethel, a Caribbean and British-trained Physician, was educated at the University of the West Indies, The Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow, Scotland.

Dr. Bethel was the first Bahamian to graduate from the University of the West Indies (UWI London) 1957. He completed his internship at the Public Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana, between 1958 and 1959, and served as a medical officer at The Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in Nassau from 1959 to 1962.

He served as Supernumerary Registrar at the University College Hospital in London from 1962 to 1964, Senior Registrar in Medicine, Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) from 1964 to 1965, and Consultant Physician, Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) from 1965 to 1968.

Dr. Bethel was the first Medical Chief of Staff at the Princess Margaret Hospital from 1968 to 1972 and also served during that period as Senior Consultant Physician and Head of the Department of Medicine. He resigned as Medical Chief of Staff in 1972 but maintained the post of Senior Consultant Physician and Head of the department of medicine until 1988 when he retired from The Bahamas Government Service after 30 years of service. He has been in private practice from 1988 to 2014.

Dr. Bethel’s contributions to the growth and development of the medical profession are legendary. He was a member of The Joint Committee: The Bahamas Medical Council/The Medical Association of The Bahamas and a member of the committee to review and draft the Medical Act. He demonstrated the highest standard of medical practice and ethical principles for physicians to follow. He always made sure everyone was treated with dignity, fairness and support.

Dr. Bethel was a charter president of the Medical Association of The Bahamas, a trustee of the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, a past Director of Education of The Bahamas Heart Association, and Medical Advisor to The Bahamas Diabetic Association. He served as a member of the Board of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) from 1999 to 2001.

All of these accomplishments do not adequately describe the measure of the man. Cecil Bethel was the consummate gentleman. He was soft-spoken but firm and demonstrated by example – the life approach of a dedicated and compassionate doctor and human being. This approach fostered a sense of trust, comfort and respect in the presence of this Bahamian pioneer and leader… sentiments shared by patients, colleagues and the hundreds of persons proud to have learned from his example.

Dr. Bethel was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty The Queen in 1989. He received The Bahamas Silver Jubilee Anniversary Gold Coin Award and the University of the West Indies “Distinguished Graduate” Award in 1998, and Medical Alumni Award in 2001.

The medical community is saddened by the loss of this health hero and we will always remember him with great fondness. He was a life well lived and Bahamians are healthier and richer because of his many contributions to healthcare.

We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to his wife, children and family members.

May his soul rest in peace.