Bold. Visionary. Pioneering.
That’s how Dr Heskith Vanterpool and his wife Jean were described on Saturday morning as they swung open the doors to a brand new surgical ward, an operating theatre suite, and an imaging department at Bougainvillea Clinic in Road Town, Tortola.
Not being selfish with the praise, Dr Vanterpool expressed gratitude to the many persons who have contributed to Bougainvillea’s incredible journey.
They include Dr Vanterpool’s late mother Geneva Harrigan in whose honour the surgical ward has been named, Dr Rodney Ellis after whom the imaging department is named, and Dr Robin Tattersall in whose honour the operating theatre has been named.
The milestone attracted ringing endorsement from the foremost healthcare figures in British Virgin Islands – Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, Minister of Health Ronnie Skelton, and Roy Barry who runs the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan.
The expansion of Bougainvillea, Barry declared, is good news for NHI beneficiaries.
“We are aware that many of our beneficiaries would prefer to undergo medical treatment – where possible – right here at home. We at the NHI are happy that we will now have even more choices within the territory,” he said while he touted the three new facilities as a ‘bold step’ in the right direction.
Premier Smith, in the meantime, hailed Bougainvillea as a ‘first class hospital facility’ that has been complementing public healthcare for umpteen years.
Such enduring relationship between public and private healthcare facilities is paramount, added the premier.
His health minister, Skelton, thinks likewise.
“Our expanded healthcare partnerships are important to our people and our economy from many perspectives. Apart from reducing the hassle of overseas travel, more of the monies spent on healthcare services can now remain in the territory and circulate in the economy,” Skelton said.
He further told the gathering: “My vision is for healthcare providers in both the public and private sectors to work closely with one another to develop systems and relationships to facilitate seamless patient-centred care at affordable cost.”
The health minister also lionized the owners of Bougainvillea as being ‘pioneers’ in the healthcare industry in the British Virgin Islands, which he said continues to expand beyond humble beginnings.
The humble beginning of Bougainvillea did not escape those who spoke at Saturday’s auspicious occasion.
Dr Vanterpool, for example, recalled that the site on which Bougainvillea now stands was home to the Purple Palace Hotel, which was abandoned for some 14 years – starting shortly after it opened.
Then, in 1973, Dr Robin Tattersall bought the hotel property for $120,000. He transformed it into the Bougainvillea Clinic.
Dr Vanterpool, with $3 million in hand, later purchased Bougainvillea Clinic on January 10, 2010.
“The effort to transform Bougainvillea Clinic from what it was then to what it is today – while maintaining the historical significant features and artifacts – has been a long and arduous process. It has taken seven years to come to this point,” added Dr Vanterpool.
Dr Tattersall – the former Bougainvillea owner in whose honour the new operating theatre has been named – was the only honouree at the celebration.
“l am very elated that this happened,” he said while he expressed amazement that Dr Vanterpool has managed to carve the new Bougainvillea building out of a Road Town hillside.
“I don’t know how he could possibly have made the sort of facility that he has on this particular site. I am amazed. These are real pioneers. They have brought so many new things to this country. Thank you Dr Heskith Vanterpool.”
Dr Vanterpool, in the meantime, was told that his late mother would have appreciated his ‘very thoughtful gesture’ to name the surgical ward in her honour.
“She is here in spirit with us. And I am truly truly honoured that my brother Heskith has accorded her this honour… Her last wish was for her body to be buried in Anguilla – the land of her birth. Certainly, Heskith naming this ward after Mama is an excellent symbol of her legacy that is left here in the British Virgin Islands,” said Lorna Smith, who is the first daughter of the late Geneva ‘Mama’ Harrigan.
Other members of the Vanterpool family – as well as friends – witnessed the grand opening of the new facilities at Bougainvillea Clinic. They included Dr Vanterpool’s three children – Jason, Stephen, and Dr Stephanie Vanterpool – who all flew in from the United States to participate in the Bougainvillea milestone.
The Vanterpools, in the meantime, also own Eureka Medical Clinic in Road Town, Tortola.
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