A private memorial at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, celebrated the life of Theophilus Lewis, MD, on Monday, Nov. 11, who passed away recently after a brief illness. He was 67.
Dr. Lewis, an American-born surgeon, and one of the founding members of the Organization for Social and Health Advancement in Guyana (OSHAG), provided expert cancer care to scores of Guyanese through his unwavering commitment to cancer care.
One such patient was a former schoolmate of this reporter, who spoke of her early breast cancer diagnosis by Dr. Lewis, that saved her life.
She is today grateful that Dr. Lewis, helped many like her, through his outreach in OSHAG, that was launched in 2002, by a group of Guyanese-American women, who saw the need for healthcare services and more importantly, urgent cancer diagnosis, and care.
“Dr. Theo Lewis was a caring doctor, even when he was not your personal doctor. Just a few weeks ago I saw him and he was happy to see my progress, and when I complained that the treatment was painful he advised me to continue until my doctor says it was ok. On another occasion, his advice saved my life,” said former schoolmate.
“He will be missed by the Guyanese and Caribbean communities. Rest in peace Dr. Lewis,” said Guyanese-American Cultural Ambassador, Claire A. Goring.
It was Dr. Lewis whose duty it was to give back to Guyana that inspired the first Cancer Walk in Georgetown, in partnership with the Cancer Society of Guyana.
A selfless medical professional who worked diligently to educate Guyanese through seminars, Dr. Lewis and his team of nurses and doctors ensured that under-served communities received the necessary surgeries, to reduce the alarming number of Guyanese diagnosed with late stages of breast cancer.
In addition to upgrading the Oncology Unit at the Georgetown Public Hospital, medical professionals from Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York, trained medical staff there, all thanks to Dr. Lewis.
A medical genius by all accounts, Dr. Lewis overwhelmingly gave to the Guyanese community, through lectures to medical staff of the Ministry of Social Protection. His talks at the Tain University of Guyana Campus, in rural Berbice, impacted hundreds of lives.
Dr. Lewis, who joined Kings County Hospital in 1978 as a medical student, later began his career at the institution in 1988, and served as a physician specialist in breast surgery, and director of service in the cancer program.
The late surgeon’s contribution to Kings County Hospital, and commitment to patients in the Guyanese community, was described as unparalleled by colleagues.
According to the hospital’s website, colleagues said the gracious, quiet, humility with which he brought his expertise to bear at the institution has left an indelible impression on all of his colleagues across all disciplines.
CEO of Kings Country, Sheldon P. McLeod, according to the institution’s website, said the death of Dr. Lewis, late associate professor, surgery, SUNY-Downstate College of Medicine — has left a gaping hole in “our hearts and a gap that our minds simply cannot reconcile.”
“It is important that we all endeavor to remember Dr. Theophilus Lewis exactly as he had presented himself to us time and time again, without fail a gracious person, a committed physician, and someone of impeccable character,” wrote Sheldon P. Mcleod.
Dr. Theophilus Lewis leaves his son and daughter to mourn his loss.