Column: Dr Ewart Brown On BHCS 30 Years

June 2, 2023 | 5 Comments

[Column written by Dr Ewart Brown]

This summer, former premier Dr Ewart Brown and his team at Bermuda Healthcare Services are celebrating the practice’s 30th anniversary. Dr. Brown set this practice up in March 1993 and in this column, he reflects what it was like to start from scratch in Bermuda all those years ago.

In the 1970′s, I failed the medical exam in Bermuda so I went back to the US, passed the national exam there and set up my practice in Los Angeles. I concluded that the decision in Bermuda was political and understandably so. In 1988 I decided to take the exam again and I passed. That’s when I decided to come back home to set up my practice and start transitioning from LA to Bermuda.

The first experience I had was that I definitely was not being welcomed home. Coming home was more of a political transition than medical in the sense that I got all sorts of messages from doctors, black doctors as well, that maybe I should reconsider. If I wanted to come home to start a practice with diagnostics in it, there was no need. The hospital had enough diagnostic equipment. I just wanted to do in Bermuda what I was doing in LA. There was all sorts of resistance to doing any diagnostics. Today I smile as I look and see that almost all doctors offices have their own ultrasound equipment. When I wanted to do it, the insurance companies refused to reimburse me and wouldn’t pay us for months. Thankfully, it was eventually resolved.

The resistance I experienced, I assumed to be racist because there was no other reason for there to be any resistance to any doctor coming home to practice medicine that was done around the world. But, it was political as well. Wherever I went I took my politics with me. There were people who didn’t want to deal with me politically. There was an assumption that I would get involved in politics eventually and they were correct.

When I came home, I would spend three days in Bermuda and the rest in LA. Then eventually, it became three days in LA and the rest in Bermuda for about three years. Whenever I came home I was booked all day into the evening doing comprehensive physicals, which weren’t common. That kept me busy and we outgrew our original location very quickly. In the meantime I was looking at houses on Point Finger Road as the trend in the rest of the world was to try to have their practices somewhere close to the hospital. I found a house, made an offer and the owner accepted it, but Planning turned me down as they had no intention of turning Point Finger Road into a “doctor’s row”. That’s exactly what it is now.

I started out with an ultrasound technician, an office manager and a part-time nurse. I couldn’t offer them full time employment because I was only here a few days in the beginning. I had to have people who were willing to work part time when I was there. They could see that it was growing and there was some promise that they would eventually have full time employment. Now, we have 15 with a large support staff.

I always wanted to have imaging because I was involved in imaging in California. I found imaging to be exciting and cutting edge. I knew that x-ray was going out and other things were coming in, like MRI and cat scan. I wanted us to be strong in that area. The diagnostic imaging aspect really appealed to me. In 2004 we opened the MRI service and it was immediately well received because patients all over the world like to have a choice. Where they have a choice there is competition and competition is good for the patients in the long run.

Setting up this practice was an exercise in patience and faith because I experienced racism, political discrimination and so much more throughout the process. All those little things [I call them little things now] prepared me for today, Those things educated me. They improved my understanding of my environment. So when people say how I manage to deal with what I dealt with, it’s because I learned along the way.

Whenever I’m asked if I would do things differently, I say no because that would’ve robbed me of one or two aspects of my experience. I would’ve liked for some things to have turned out differently, but along the way, that’s what life’s about. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. My journey has been what it is. It’s been pretty consistent. I understand it. I understand why my journey is what it is.

- Dr Ewart Brown

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Comments (5)

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  1. tucker says:


  2. question says:

    The word ‘I’ is used 43 times in this article.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Who wants to tell him there is no “I” in “team”?

  3. comfortably numb says:

    Maybe if he’d stayed in LA, Bermuda would still be solvent, infrastructure well maintained, everybody who wanted a job employed and little to no corruption?

  4. Sarah says:

    Dr. Brown is talking about himself should he say “they?” That would be stupid. “I” is correct.

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