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Dr. Mike De'shield
from May 2011 at Chaa Creek
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Poster Marty Offline
Posted 12/21/11 08:02 AM
Dr. Michael DeShield passed away yesterday morning after battling with colorectal cancer which had spread to his liver and lungs. Deshield had been at the forefront of Belize’s bio-safety standards system since the nineties when the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, was formulated as the local inspection agency for animal products. He was also the owner and founder of the first privately-owned, full-time veterinary hospital in Belize and worked there as Senior Veterinarian. Exactly one month and two days ago on November eighteenth, Dr. DeShield made his last public appearance when he told work colleagues in the agricultural sector that he was very ill and was retiring from public life. He is survived by his wife and business partner, Miriam, and their children. Love FM extends our sincere condolences to the DeShield family and to all who worked closely with Dr. DeShield during your time of bereavement.

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#425801 - 12/21/11 08:03 AM Re: Dr. Mike Deshield [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Well known, widely liked and much respected veterinarian Dr. Mike Deshield has passed away. The 54 year old died this morning at his home in Belize City.

Deshield had been battling colorectal cancer for some time - and died due to cancer-related complications. He was a highly trained, outstanding animal health expert, and more than that, he was one heck of a nice guy.

He worked privately as a veterinarian at the Animal Medical Centre on Lancaster Street and publicly as the Technical Director of Food Safety Services at BAHA.

Last month, he had a retirement party at BAHA - and he was still upbeat and amiable. We have a portion of the interview he gave to LOVE TV when he spoke about the genesis of BAHA:..

Dr. Mike Deshield
"Well we started from the beginning, I mean we were the ones who came up with the concept and the ideas, it's like 4 of us, couple of them has moved on now, so from 1997 -1998 we were thinking about these things here. 2000 is when BAHA came to being and we been going ever since."

Marion Ali, Love FM
"Now you moved on to what from here?"

Dr. Mike Deshield
"Well I am actually very ill. I'm just kind of enjoying Belize and the life. I've been diagnose with colorectal cancer which has spread to my liver and my lungs but I am enjoying life and still contribute where I can."

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

Channel 7

#425802 - 12/21/11 08:04 AM Re: Dr. Mike Deshield [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Dr. Michael De'Shield passes away at 54

Fifty four year old veterinarian Dr. Michael DeShield passed away this morning. Dr. Desheild was suffering from pancreatic cancer and had recently returned to Belize to spend his last days after seeking medical attention abroad. Dr. DeShield was one of the founding fathers of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA and had recently been interviewed by PlusTv on his opinions on Genetically Modified BT corn in Belize. During that interview, the Doctor briefly commented on his battle with cancer.

Dr. Michael De’Shield
Yes, actually I was diagnosed with Metastatic Cancer since December of 2009. It is been a journey since then. I have had chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and I had a series of set backs because of all that. I lost a lot of weight, but now I am home and I feel really good about that. The cancer is still there; it is not gone and I am still dealing with that, but it feels good to finally be home and just enjoy Belizean food.

A wake for the late Dr. Desheild will be held tomorrow night at his residence at the corner of Moguel Street and Lizarraga Avenue in Belize City. PlusTV expresses sincere condolences to the DeShield family.


#425809 - 12/21/11 08:20 AM Re: Dr. Mike Deshield [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Goodbye Michael Deshield; Vet passes away

Michael DeShield

Well-known veterinarian Doctor Michael Deshield passed away this morning. Less than a month ago on November eighteenth, Deshield and co-workers of Belize Agricultural Health Authority said their farewells but his work ethic is evident as he maintained a presence at BAHA almost until his time ran out. The well-loved public servant had been battling cancer for some time. For over a decade Deshield has been featured in stories of national and local importance. At BAHA he served for the past eleven years and eight months as the Technical Director of Food Safety Services. News Five attended his last day on the job in November when he gave a lengthy and detailed presentation on the institution. He finished his speech by telling his friends and co-workers that they should all do their best to stay healthy.

Dr. Miguel Figureoa, BAHA [File: November 18th, 2011]

Miguel Figureoa

“Dr. Deshield graduated with a degree in maternal medicine from the University of Queensland, Australia and completed a masters degree in tropical maternal medicine from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. His thesis was on maternal drug residue in poultry.”

Michael DeShield, Retiring from BAHA

“I look around, very emotional; I look and see a lot of committed staff, committed to Belize, what we do that they neglect themselves. And we really have to factor our health; this is something I challenge you to do. We have good coverage, insurance. I’m the testimony to that or I wouldn’t be here. So I want you to make sure you look after your health. I see people really put their all into it and they can’t sustain that. We have lost from the BAHA family a very good person like Ms. Delilah said a fine mentor, a person you can easily approach and know that you are going to address whatever concerns we have. Thank you doc for the opportunity you have given us to be around you we feel so privileged to have had you around.”

Doctor Michael Deshield would have turned fifty-five in early January. He will be laid to rest later this week.

Channel 5

#425944 - 12/22/11 01:10 PM Re: Dr. Mike Deshield [Re: Marty]
iluvbelize Offline
We are so sorry to hear this. Dr. Deshield was a friend and one of the finest men I've ever known. As a vet he went above and beyond for us. Our hearts are heavy. Sending condolences to his lovely wife Miriam and family.

#426049 - 12/24/11 08:24 AM Re: Dr. Mike Deshield [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Dr. Michael DeShield passes at 54

Dr. Michael DeShield, who previously served as National Biosafety Focal Point at the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and who owned a private vet clinic, died at 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, at his home in Belize City.

Deshield, who would have turned 55 on January 3 next year, was cremated the day after his death. According to his wife, Miriam, his ashes will be placed in the same tomb as his father, Wilton, and sister, Yvonne, who predeceased him. They are buried at Lord Ridge Cemetery in Belize City.

BAHA staff gave Dr. DeShield a farewell in November and they, along with All Saints Church, where his funeral will be held on Friday, hosted the wake at his residence last night.

We interviewed Dr. DeShield twice before his passing, for a KREM TV feature we hope to air in the coming weeks. The first interview was conducted on November 11 and the second on December 6, 2011.

He willingly spoke with us about his battle with colorectal cancer, which ultimately led to his passing this week.

In October 2009, he lost his dad to bone cancer, and Dr. DeShield told us that being beside his dad during his struggle with cancer helped to prepare him for his battle, which began only a few months later. His mother had also died from cancer.

“Cancer is a big scourge, but it’s nothing to be scared of,” he told us. “It’s almost like part of life; I hear of so many people who have it now.”

DeShield told us that he had this bad feeling in his intestines – a heaviness when he went to use the bathroom, but he thought he was being afflicted by parasites. Later, he decided to do a colonoscopy, which, he said, he advises people ages 40-50 to get done.

Dr. DeShield had insurance, which covered his medical expenses abroad. He underwent radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

“It’s been like an up and down,” he told us, explaining that his lung had also been affected by the cancer. He had also suffered liver problems caused by a blockage of the bile duct, for which he had to have drains installed.

He received most of his treatment at Goshen Cancer Care Center at Indiana University, USA. They had offered him further procedures, but he decided to return home and get treatment here.

While at home for the past couple months, Dr. DeShield has experienced an outpouring of love and support, and many people with whom he interacted during his career paid him courtesy calls at home.

He said that he had been drinking local remedies like beverages made from papaya leaves and soursop. At the time of our December 6 interview, he was drinking a juice cocktail of carrots, beets, apples, pineapples and celery—no added sugar. Sugar isn’t good for you, he said.

According to DeShield, doctors also advised him against eating meat, but he never gave it up, because he liked the taste of meat.

“Cancer is caused by so many things,” he said, restating that both his parents died from it. He also pointed to possible environmental factors and said that BAHA should get into environmental testing, because people don’t know what they are being exposed to. They may even need to check the water, he suggested.

He also advises Belizeans against eating processed foods, which, he said, causes obesity and contributes to all the chronic diseases, including two of the leading killers in Belize – cancer and diabetes.

“Belize is really blessed too with the fact we have high quality local foods, and it is a pity we are following the American way of eating highly processed foods,” DeShield lamented.

To the generation of Belizean scientists coming up he said: “Follow your dreams.” He urged the government to provide national support for our scientists. A lot of people coming out school have ideals and ideas, but sometimes they get disillusioned, he said.

As for DeShield, he declined offers to take up a career abroad. He said he always wanted to return home to serve his country with what he had learned overseas.

After returning from Australia more than 20 years ago, he had a hard time getting a job in Belize. The country wanted vets, but had no posts for them. Eventually, said DeShield, he got the opportunity to work at Central Farm in Cayo with the Ministry of Agriculture. He also taught at the Belize College of Agriculture, now subsumed under the University of Belize.

Deshield said that, while posted in Central Farm with his family, where they would get fresh cow’s milk daily, they provided ambulatory services for farmers in the south and west of Belize. Every month he would fly with his kit to Punta Gorda, and along with the local agricultural officer, who met him at the airport, he went by truck to the villages. They did this for three to four days before he moved on to Dangriga, after which he returned to Cayo. He did that job rotation for two years.

Later, he won a Chevening Scholarship to pursue his Master’s degree in tropical veterinary medicine in Scotland in 1994. While studying there, his interest in food safety peaked. Dr. DeShield noticed that poultry in Belize and abroad had been showing a lot of resistance to antibiotics, which were fed to the birds. He saw that food safety would be a very important area for Belize, and so for his thesis, he studied residues in 4,000 birds at Spanish Lookout, conducting the field work at the Central Farm lab.

As for the chickens in Belize, DeShield said that there is no worry over hormones – the only worry would be the use of antibiotics; however, there is a waiting period in which birds should be held before their slaughter, in order to reduce antibiotic residue.

After completing his Master’s degree, Dr. DeShield was posted in Belize City at the Central Investigation Lab. BAHA, a statutory body, came into being in 2000. DeShield said that BAHA, which provides services in food safety, quarantine, plant and animal health, has gained an international reputation. They now have first-rate equipment and very good technicians who test both local and imported foods. Although BAHA’s mandate has been broadened, however, the authority is constrained by a small budget.

Still, DeShield said, there is a lot that gets done. He has documented some of BAHA’s milestones, as well as many of his multihued food snapshots he had taken over the years, in a vibrant, full-color food safety booklet he produced for BAHA.

Dr. DeShield was very happy to be interviewed by us on his life’s work, as well as his thoughts on the controversial issue of growing genetically modified (GM) foods in Belize. Even during his battle with cancer, he was very involved and very vocal in providing expert advice to aid in this national debate.

Dr. Michael DeShield is survived by his wife, Miriam, to whom he was married for 30 years, and their children – Christopher, Phillip and Nikita; as well as their grandson Omar. The children and their families came home for the holidays, but didn’t make it home until hours after their father passed.

What was intended to be their grandchild’s birthday celebration ended up being the wake, Miriam said.



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