There is a doc a call away
Bandele Majeks made a vow to find a cure for cancer. That was his “immature goal” (in his own words) at the time to help people with the disease.
While that vow is still a work in process the now 39-year-old has made some progress in helping the sick as he is now Dr Bandele (called by his first name), specialising in emergency medicine.
If the name sounds familiar, he is one of three on the team that makes up Urgent Care Mobile, a direct medical care services that has a 24-hour response.
His journey has been “fulfilling” he told EASY magazine. He was born to a Nigerian father and Bajan mother in Britain but grew up in Barbados, attending Christ Church Boys School (now Milton Lynch Primary), then Harrison College and his first year at University of the West Indies doing sciences.
“My dad is in banking and my mum is a nurse so she is the one who brainwashed me into this area,” he said chuckling.
“I always wanted to be a doctor . . . . An oncologist actually. What really triggered that for me was in my first year at HC at 11 years old I saw my best friend die of cancer.”
To further his education he went to Trinidad, St Augustine, for three years to do preclinical, returning to Barbados in 2001 to work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for two years to do his clinical. Internship would follow for two more years, then it was off to Britain for a year.
“I worked at Princess Royal Hospital there, starting in the surgical specialty unit and then emergency medicine. It was very hands-on and eye opening. I decided emergency medicine was what I wanted to do after that year.”
Getting homesick, Bandele decided to return home.
“When I left here my mind was made up to live there. I missed working in the emergency unit and the familiarity of home, so at end of 2006 I came back.”
The plan was, according to Bandele was to work in the emergency room at the QEH and branch off.
But a year ago exactly (last October), he decided to work part-time at the hospital while providing a greater role to the public.
“I loved the emergency room adrenalin but I also wanted to provide care quickly and in an expedient manner . . . . I wanted to add a bit more than what is currently available.
“When I launched last year with my best friend and colleague Dr Makeba Brooks, it was envisioned at the time that our services were to manage people who were involved in motor vehicle accidents and treating them on the spot . . . . Giving them that initial treatment and stabilisation before going to the hospital.”
The patients were those with lacerations, minor injuries, neck and back pains of that nature.
Bandele said the [Urgent Care Mobile] unit was a box truck that they retrofitted in January this year to create a “clinic setting”.
“We have a bed, a monitor for vital signs, we can do ECGs, we have a defibrillator and a portable chair that can scoop up patients and bring to the truck.”
Bandele said while the plan was for road side treatment, he has found that Urgent Care Mobile has made more house calls and mass crowd events since they started: “We work in tandem with paramedics and other doctors.”
Urgent Care Mobile is a team of three primary – Bandele, Brooks and Dr Kiran Surage – with four in-training doctors integrated into the structure.
The team rotates being on call: “It is hard work. Finding our niche in health care and juggling running the business and getting it off the ground. We want to get the name out there and the most rewarding so far is the appreciation the patients and families have when we treat them in their own environment and seeing them improve.”
Urgent Care Mobile office is based in Belleville and gets from five to ten calls a day: “I am very excited. To see this idea grow and the feedback we have gotten is so positive . . .”.
Not to remain stagnant, in five years time they want to add a specialised paediatric component.
“We really hope to maintain a certain high quality of service we deliver to patients island wide.”
The team, though, wants to give back, so “we are looking soon to do some pop-up clinics in some communities, doing blood tests and pressure checks and giving out some advice.”
And even though he still hasn’t found the cure to cancer, he has teamed up with the Cancer Support Services to provide palliative care to cancer patients. (NS)