By Meleni Khan and Nadine Edwards
Picture this: a very young, vibrant and ambitious Dr. Heskith Vanterpool returning to the BVI from the United Kingdom with a degree in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology along with his wife, Mrs. Jean Vanterpool, their three children, and big dreams. His dream was to have a medical facility with an investigative approach to solving health issues in the BVI.
The facility was established in 1985 with two employees, Dr. Heskith and Jean Vanterpool, at the Palm Grove Shopping Center. Approximately fourteen years laters in 1999 (and after Dr. Tangutoori, our longest-serving General Practitioner joined the team), the establishment continued serving the British Virgin Islands with medical and diagnostic services. By that time, the practice had moved to the Omar Hodge Building, in the location of our old Imaging Department next to Medicure Pharmacy. The practice was then called Eureka Diagnostic Center which was subsequently changed to Eureka Medical Clinic. Sometime after, the clinic made its final move to Geneva Place.
The choice of name had a lot to do with the vision Dr. Vanterpool had for the practice. After some research and pondering, the Greek word “Eureka,” which means in English “I have found it!” was chosen, as he hoped to reach a diagnosis for his patients by means of an investigative approach.
Dr. Vanterpool later studied Ultrasonography in Canada and upon his return was the first to offer ultrasound services in the BVI. The Imaging Department, which was a part of Medicure, subsequently became a part of Eureka.
As Eureka Medical Clinic continued to flourish, new doctors were hired. We had two General Practitioners and a female Gynaecologist, along with additional imaging, nursing and administrative staff.
Dr. Hubert O’Neal, being a Virgin Gordian, wanted medical services on that island and so an office was set up along with a pharmacy in The Valley, Virgin Gorda. Dr. Vanterpool along with our Gynecologist and an imaging technician would make weekly visits to Virgin Gorda to treat patients. Over time, new General Practitioners were hired and stationed there to function fulltime.
To further enhance healthcare and ensure that patients on the island would not need to travel overseas to access certain diagnostic services, in 2000, the visionary Dr. Vanterpool purchased a CAT scan machine and started offering this service in the Imaging Department. Again, this was a first in the BVI. Mammography was also offered. Years later in 2007, MRI services were added, yet again another first in the BVI. The MRI Center was located in Purcell Estate (for some of us who may not know this) before it was relocated to Bougainvillea Clinic.
In 2005 we had our first Orthopedic Surgeon and then in 2006 Cardiology was added to the practice after the pioneer himself again went back to England and completed his full studies in Non-invasive Cardiology. We then extended physically to the upper floor of Geneva Place and included General Surgery.
Eureka Medical continues to expand and now our entire medical team, including Dr. Vanterpool in Cardiology consists of four General Practitioners, one General Surgeon, two Gastroenterologists, one Orthopaedic doctor, a Gynaecologist, and a Dermatologist. Although CT and MRI services are now accessed at Bougainvillea Clinic, we continue to do mammograms with a new state of the art machine, ultrasounds, x-rays, echocardiograms, stress test, EKG, skin cancer screening, HCG weight loss programme, Botox, carboxytherapy, pulmonary function test, and other procedures done by our General Surgeon such as colonoscopies.
In 2017, like most businesses, we were hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and, prior to that, the devastating flood which hit the island in August of that year. However, our pioneers and the rest of the Eureka family have shown their resilience and were determined to become as functional as we could in the shortest possible time.
The rebuilding has led to the new and improved state of the art facility we all now enjoy. Despite the journey being lengthy, the adversities and challenges faced, the staff along with management and our contractors were up to the task. After the renovation was completed, we just could not proceed into another year without giving God thanks for all He made possible. Therefore on the afternoon of June 22nd 2019, the Eureka family met and enjoyed a time of praise, worship and thanksgiving to celebrate this milestone. The theme for the afternoon was “Look What the Lord Has Done.”
As the needs of the population evolve, we have heeded the call from patients and are responding by establishing a dental unit at our main office. It is truly a “one-stop shop” for our patients with our sister facility, Bougainvillea Clinic, and our laboratory and pharmaceutical services from Medicure Ltd.
It has and continues to be a pleasure serving the people of the British Virgin Islands and our neighboring communities for over thirty years. It is our aspiration to continue to provide quality service, living up to our motto “Quality Service…Trusted Name”. The Eureka family is relentless in this regard.