SMMC without a St. Maarten based surgeon


~ Temporary arrangement put in place ~

CAY HILL--The recent sudden departure of a general surgeon from St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has forced the hospital to obtain the services of two surgeons from Curaçao on a temporary basis to bridge the gap.
Reliable reports reaching The Daily Herald said a general surgeon had left his job at SMMC and the country abruptly about a week ago because of some internal problems at SMMC and in doing so had left the country's main medical institution in a bit of a quandary.

SMMC officials are tight-lipped about the situation, but have confirmed that "an internal matter" in connection with one of its general surgeons "is under review."

In a statement in response to queries by this newspaper on Friday, SMMC Human Resources and Communications Manager Juliëtte Hassell stressed that "ensuring quality health care is the main priority of St. Maarten Medical Center" and explained that "with one surgeon absent" the hospital had "immediately started the process to have a substitute surgeon in place."

Hassell continued: "We are pleased to confirm that two very experienced surgeons affiliated with the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Curaçao have made themselves available to service St. Maarten Medical Center. The first surgeon, Dr. van Leeuwen, is currently here and will be succeeded by Dr. Nellensteijn next week."

Referring to what she said was "an internal matter in connection with one of our general surgeons" that was "under review," she said that review was being done in line with the systems and procedures that were in place to allow for "a responsible and objective evaluation."

She said that out of respect for "confidentiality towards all parties involved," SMMC did not wish to "comment with further details at this stage."