Af­ter 40 years Dr. Jus­tice Arthur hangs up his specu­lum

Burin Penin­sula Health Care Cen­ter physi­cian made an im­pact over his 19 years in prac­tice and as Chief of Staff

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY MAR­TINE BLUE BURIN, N.L. mar­tineblue­news@gmail.com

Since 1999 Dr. Jus­tice Arthur has wel­comed many new­borns at the Burin Penin­sula Health Care Cen­ter.

Arthur has worked as gy­ne­col­o­gist and ob­ste­tri­cian at the hospi­tal for 19 years, 18 of them as Chief of Staff.

Arthur, who has been prac­tic­ing for 40 years, re­ceived his med­i­cal de­gree in his na­tive coun­try of Ghana. He then de­cided he wanted to fur­ther his studies in an­other coun­try so he and his fam­ily re­lo­cated to the United King­dom.

“Ghana was part of the com­mon­wealth, so the log­i­cal place to go was the U.K.,” Arthur ex­plained. “It was easy for your cre­den­tials to be rec­og­nized.”

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing a gy­ne­col­ogy fel­low­ship, Arthur switched gears and pur­sued a law de­gree at the Univer­sity of Lon­don. His plan was to prac­tice med­i­cal law. How­ever, once he re­ceived his de­gree, Arthur re­al­ized he en­joyed medicine more and de­cided to stay with gy­ne­col­ogy and ob­stet­rics.

Ea­ger for an­other ex­pe­ri­ence, Arthur and his wife El­iz­a­beth — a reg­is­tered nurse who also worked at the Burin Health Care Cen­ter un­til she re­tired in 2016 — thought that Canada might be fun a fun place to ex­plore.

“Both El­iz­a­beth and I trained and worked in the U.K. and raised a fam­ily so we planned to move to Canada for a few years as an ad­ven­ture and go back to Ghana and set up a pri­vate prac­tice,” Arthur said. “We started look­ing and had a few of­fers, but the of­fer from N.L. was more at­trac­tive be­cause there was an N.L. re­cruiter who spoke to El­iz­a­beth be­fore me and man­aged to charm his way. That’s how we ended up here.”

Spe­cial place

The Arthurs set­tled in Marys­town and found ru­ral New­found­land to be a spe­cial place. They de­cided to con­tinue build­ing their ca­reers in this prov­ince.

“We’ve worked in big cities in the U.K. and all over, but there was some­thing unique about this place,” Arthur re­marked. “It was ru­ral, but you could prac­tice medicine on a very high level. And you had pa­tients that were easy to deal with and we liked the com­mu­nity and every­thing about it. There was no pres­sure of liv­ing in a big city, all the noise and travel and trou­ble­some pa­tients and all that.”

Arthur cred­its the peo­ple and the hospi­tal as the draw that made them want to con­tinue liv­ing and work­ing here.

“Ob­vi­ously peo­ple are very friendly and wel­com­ing, and the hospi­tal was so ef­fi­cient and ev­ery­one was so help­ful, we re­ally en­joyed our stay,” he said. “We gen­er­ally liked the peace and quiet of this place to­gether with the friend­li­ness of the peo­ple and the work was very pleas­ant.”

Fam­ily

The main chal­lenge of work­ing ru­rally for the cou­ple was get­ting time off to­gether with a lim­ited amount of em­ploy­ees to take over both shifts at the hospi­tal. The other is­sue was see­ing their three kids and grand­daugh­ter too in­fre­quently. The cou­ple has a son named Ekow who is an in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gist in Madrid, Spain; a daugh­ter named Bemah who prac­tices law in Lon­don, Eng­land; and Joe, their youngest son, also is a doc­tor who lives in Lon­don.

They miss spend­ing time their one-year-old grand­daugh­ter Si­enna too.

“Our kids were more in­ter­ested in liv­ing in ur­ban ar­eas rather than ru­ral ar­eas, they didn’t come here as of­ten as we wanted them to,” Arthur lamented.

The Arthurs plan to split their time be­tween Ghana and the U.K.

“Ghana be­cause that’s where we come from and Eng­land be­cause all our kids live in Europe,” Arthur said. “I am hop­ing that I will take a part time job in academia in Ghana and pass on some of the ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve ac­quired in my trav­els to the younger gen­er­a­tion.”

Ad­vance­ments

In 40 years of prac­tice, Arthur has seen a lot of ad­vance­ments in pa­tient care.

“There’s a lot more tech­nol­ogy now, so we can do a lot more for peo­ple,” Arthur stated. “When I first started things like CT scans and real time ul­tra­sounds were in their in­fancy, so ac­cess to these things were lim­ited.

“Now we have a lot more tech­nol­ogy, CT, MRI, we have great im­ages from real time ul­tra­sound. La­paro­scopic work, fi­brotic tech­nol­ogy — so there’s a lot more we can do for peo­ple,” he con­tin­ued. “That’s the big­gest change, tech­nol­ogy. IT tech has re­ally made things more ef­fi­cient. If a pa­tient came from me and was treated in Ghana or Cor­ner Brook, I can sit in my of­fice and ac­cess what was done for them there. In­for­ma­tion that makes life eas­ier for us and for the pa­tients.”

Mixed feel­ings

Arthur has mixed feel­ings about re­tir­ing.

“It’s a whole new stage of my life,” Arthur said. “I’ve been in this busi­ness for 40 years so I feel ap­pre­hen­sive, but at the same time I’m look­ing for­ward to hav­ing my own time back, spend­ing more time with my grand­daugh­ter, Si­enna and the chil­dren and do­ing the things I like to do, sports, mu­sic, trav­el­ling.

“I am also leav­ing some great friends be­hind, both pro­fes­sion­ally and out­side the hospi­tal. On the whole I’m look­ing for­ward to it.”

Kim Green, the hospi­tal’s site man­ager, says staff and pa­tients will miss Arthur as well.

“His lead­er­ship is some­thing that we’ve grown fond of,” Green re­marked. “He’s a very ef­fec­tive leader, but he is very gen­tle and very con­sid­er­ate in his lead­er­ship style. We’re cer­tainly go­ing to miss work­ing with him.

“He’s part of our fam­ily and his wife as well; she came to work with us as a nurse. He con­sid­ers him­self just as much an New­found­lan­der now as the rest of us, He’s been de­liv­er­ing ba­bies here for 19 years as well and there’s not very many fam­i­lies that haven’t been touched by his care.”

Arthur has a mes­sage for the friends he made over the last 19 years.

“I’d like to say a big thankyou to ev­ery­one in and out of the hospi­tal who made our stay very pleas­ant and looked out for us,” Arthur said. “Neigh­bors who helped us with snow clear­ing — like New­found­lan­ders do — all the peo­ple who were so kind to us, we will come back and visit.”

Arthur’s co-work­ers and friends are plan­ning a re­tire­ment party for him on Fri­day, June 15, where many of the at­ten­dees can swap sto­ries of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing his ded­i­ca­tion, ex­per­tise, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and friendly, funny, easy go­ing de­meanor.

SUB­MIT­TED

Dr. Jus­tice Arthur is mov­ing to Ghana and the United King­dom, but plans to re­turn for vis­its.

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