“The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.” – Dr William Osler, co-founder of Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Dr Winston Thomas embodied the true spirit of the medical practitioner as espoused by Dr Osler in the quote above. Indeed, Dr Thomas was a medical advocate for the poor; “the people’s doctor”.
On the evening of Saturday, 27 July 2019, his family, the Carenage community, the medical fraternity received the sad news that Dr Thomas had passed away in Cuba while receiving medical care.
Dr Thomas was one of the very few medical practitioners who completely and selflessly dedicated his career in service to the people of Grenada, a true public servant. On his return to Grenada from medical studies in Cuba, he joined the staff at the General Hospital and was a fixture at the accidents and emergencies department. At that department, Dr Thomas is credited with saving many lives.
Though he privately served many in his community and beyond, Dr Thomas never had a private practice. His private services were performed free of charge. Many relate how he did house calls, sometimes in difficult circumstances and refused to accept payment even when pressed. Many in his community speak of the speed with which he arrived at patients’ side and the humility and humanity with which he tended to his patients.
Dr Thomas’ career and service as a medical practitioner was certainly exemplary but his contribution to Grenada went beyond the practice of medicine.
As a community leader and social and political activist, he was a voice for the voiceless and a champion for social justice. He served for many years on the executive body of the Public Workers’ Union fighting for workers’ rights. He was an active member of the Grenada-Venezuela Friendship Association. He was also an executive member of the Grenada chapter of Friends of the Earth International. Dr Thomas was an active member of the NDC Town of St. George Constituency Branch for many years and more recently, Chairman of the NNP branch. He was also an avid call-in contributor to the various current affairs radio talk shows. His contributions in these various endeavours demonstrated his genuine love for and commitment to his country.
Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, on learning of Dr Thomas’ passing remarked as follows:
“Dr Thomas was such an outstanding person. He will be remembered for his humility and his brotherhood. His loss is not only to family and community but a loss to Humanity.”
The Executive Committee and members of the National Democratic Congress express sincere condolences to the Thomas family, to friends of Dr Thomas, the medical fraternity, the Carenage community and surrounding areas. We mourn with you and pray that you will be comforted by the fond memories and in the knowledge that your son touched so many lives as he served with such big-heartedness and humility.
May he rest in eternal peace.