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Doctor Cecil Cyrus honoured

Doctor Cecil Cyrus honoured


At an Awards Banquet held in St Lucia on Friday, 24 April, 2009, Dr Cecil Cyrus received an award from the Caribbean Health Research Council at its Fifty-Fourth Annual Scientific Conference, for his Outstanding Contribution to Health Research in the Caribbean in the Area of Surgery.{{more}}

From 1975 to 1996, despite his back-breaking workload, Dr Cyrus made time to present 19 papers to this prestigious body on various aspects of surgery in St Vincent. Introducing Dr Cyrus, Professor Henry Fraser, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, stated that “It is not often that mere mortals meet men who are legends in their own lifetime, but today those assembled here are in the company of a man of medicine who can only be described as the legendary Cecil Cyrus. In fact Dr Arthur Cecil Cyrus has been a legend in St Vincent since his school days; in Belfast, Cecil won almost every prize and scholarship there was to win. After graduating in Medicine with an Honors Degree in Anatomy, he earned the Fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and of Edinburgh in quick time – he was the first Vincentian to gain the FRCS. He also worked in paediatrics and obstetrics, and later gained diplomas in Eye diseases and Obstetrics to prepare for every possible challenge in St Vincent. And he returned home in 1963 with the greatest prize of all, his wife Kathryn and his first daughter.

He spent 13 years as Senior Consultant Surgeon at the Colonial Hospital, St Vincent, before opening The Botanic Hospital in Kingstown. And here, in a surgical centre of the highest quality, managed by his magnificent theatre sister, his wife, Cecil Cyrus worked for another 25 years, learning with limited technology to ‘make do’, and consolidating his reputation as a legend of dedication and resourcefulness. His skill and ingenuity in curing the incurable and saving the unsalvageable were nothing short of miraculous, and in his words, gifts of God. And his charity and kindness have been the manifestation of the Christian doctor, personified in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, brought to life by artist Angela Waterlow on the wall of our UWI Faculty of Medicine at Mona.

Dr Cyrus has shared his medical experience and surgical skill with colleagues in 47 lectures and scientific papers in Britain and the Caribbean. And his surgical achievements have been combined with a 40-year collection of pathological specimens in his magnum opus, “A Clinical and Pathological Atlas: The Records of a Surgeon in St Vincent, the West Indies.” In the words of the specialists who reviewed it for the Bulletin of the Royal College of Pathologists: “This is a remarkable book by a truly remarkable man…we who were fortunate and privileged to have worked in pathology in the West Indies saw much in this book that was familiar and much that was new to us…. We have never seen it better illustrated or described.” And his incredible collection is now the Dr Cecil Cyrus Museum.

But Dr Cyrus is not just a great surgeon. He is a gifted orator, speaking with conviction and inspiration on health and community issues, especially to young people. He teaches health and exercise by example and he believes in the Value of sports. He introduced squash to St Vincent in 1966 by building the first squash court beneath his clinic, another at Belvedere in 1978 and the Cecil Cyrus Squash Complex in 1983. In fact, St Vincent hosted 4 regional tournaments under his presidency, with Vincentian regional junior and senior champions.

This incredible surgeon and sportsman is truly a Renaissance man, and he brings similar skills of love and tender touch to his own Botanic Garden. Rumor has it that he talks to his plants, and gives them an anaesthetic when he has to cut or prune them. This humanity and humility is complemented by a wonderful wife, Kathryn, the love of his life.

Dr Cyrus was accompanied by his wife Kathryn. The awards ceremony was held at the L Epicure Restaurant, The Royal by Rex Resorts, St. Lucia.