The John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC) and the Indiana University (IU) yesterday collaborated to launch the Samuel S. Brisbane Fund.
Dr. Samuel S. Brisbane, who had spent nearly 50 years in the practice of medicine, was the first Liberian medical doctor to succumb to the deadly Ebola virus disease. He died Saturday, July 26, 2014 after contracting the virus from a patient who he selflessly attended to at the JFK Hospital. He died after a three-week battle with the virus.
Dr. Brisbane spent a considerable portion of his career at the Firestone Medical Center where, from 1992 to 2003, he served as medical director. He later transferred to the JFK. He had already begun his medical practice at the JFK when he returned from medical studies in Germany at the turn of the 1970s.
In his long career, Dr. Brisbane trained hundreds of Liberian medical students as well as many from foreign lands, who have gone on themselves to become medical practitioners.
In his passing, Liberia lost an outstanding medical doctor, who was in good health, ready and able to continue for many more years serving his country in the vital field of medicine. Dr. Brisbane remained on the ground throughout the 15 year civil war making great sacrifices to fulfill his invaluable services to his people.
As Liberia’s leading Internist, he headed the Emergency Unit at JFK and saw most patients coming there for various treatments.
At the launch of the Fund yesterday, Mr. Samuel Brisbane, Jr., told the Daily Observer that the Brisbane Family, which had at least six members present at the program, was very honored for what JFK and the IU had done in their father’s memory.
“His colleagues, who worked with him and had interactions with him, have really made me and my family proud to know that he has really been missed. It has also shown me that his dedication to his profession, was really remarkable,” Brisbane, Jr. said.
He further stated that it was very hard for the family to take when their father died especially after living throughout the civil war years in Liberia. “Being a medical doctor, he always told us that his people needed him so he was not going to leave his people who really needed him,” said Brisbane.
The JFK Board Chair, ‘Aunt’ Jennie Bernard, conveyed their sincere gratitude to the Brisbane Family. She stated that it was a wonderful experience working with Dr. Brisbane.
The General Administrator of JFK, Dr. Wvannie Scott-McDonald, praised Dr. Brisbane for his work ethics and his vision to bring JFK back to its pre-war status. Dr. Scott-McDonald announced that the hospital’s next project would be to also launch the Abraham Borbor Fund.
The objective of the Brisbane Fund, according to Chad Priest, the IU representative, is to build the emergency management, emergency medicine and infection control capacities at JFK.
“We are going to do this in three ways: training and education, provision of technical assistance from experts from around the world who will come to Liberia and the newly announced fellowship that will bring a doctor and a nurse each year from JFK to the US for a brief period for advanced training to come back and train their colleagues,” he stated.
The Fund will raise up to US$100,000 annually to carry out its objectives.
Reminiscing on some fond memories with Dr. Brisbane, Priest said Dr. Brisbane put everyone before himself. “He was also very human and a great doctor. We are glad that we got to know him.”