September 21, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Cayman Island honorees, names get forgotten – eg. Doc Poulson

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Colin Wilson2webThere is nothing wrong with honouring the men and women that have made significant contributions to the of the Cayman Islands history. I applaud it.

However, it is often puzzling that some names are left out. Names that come to my mind and I have lived here for only 33 years. An example follows:

114 health care professionals were honoured on Monday January 26 during the islands’ annual Heroes Day celebration held in Heroes Square, George Town. Awardees ranged from doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists, lab technicians, emergency response service workers, medical assistants, counsellors, environmental health workers and therapists.

In the list of 47 names under the category of Pioneers there is one famous name missing. In fact his name is not among any of the categories where these 114 health care professionals are listed.

The missing name is the late Dr (Doc) James (Jimmie) Poulson.

Doc Poulson was practicing medicine when I first arrived. He was the doctor on the lips of both ex pats and Caymanians alike. He was at that time first choice. Doc Poulson had a pill or medication for anything.

Doc Poulson started up the Cayman Clinic on Crewe Road.

And Doc Poulson is famous for helping set up the first hyperbaric chamber on Grand Cayman for the treatment of decompression sickness.

Originally the chamber was situated at the George Town Hospital and then when the hospital needed the space it was moved behind the Cayman Clinic. Since the early 70s the British Sub-Aqua Club ran it until 1996 when it was taken over by John and Ann Elliott.

Because of Doc Poulson’s contribution and the many, many free hours he put into helping the volunteers operate the hyperbaric chamber there is a dive site on Grand Cayman named after him – “The Doc Poulson”.

Whilst the purpose sunken USS Kittiwake gets most of the publicity, The Doc Poulson was first. It was originally a Japanese cable laying ship and was sunk in Grand Cayman in 1981 to create an artificial reef on Seven Mile Beach.

The 70 ft. long wreck sits upright in about 50 to 60 feet of water and is a part of our Islands’ DIVING history.

It is amazing then that Doc Poulson is remembered by the Diving fraternity with a diving monument for all time whilst the medical fraternity and our government Protocol Office have totally missed him.

How is this possible?

I just do not have the answer to it at all.

Forgotten is Doc Poulson but this pioneer actually is not forgotten, is he?

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