Dialogue Volume 15, Issue 3 2019 - Page 19

COUNCIL AWARD I like to paint a picture of the whole person – not just their disease or the issue that brought them to the emergency room that day You were city-born and raised – what made you decide to move to northern Ontario? To be honest, I always wanted to work in ‘cottage country’. My mom was a teacher who taught in a four-room school house in Unionville, which was more or less a rural area in those days. I would often visit her and hang out with her students on their farms. I loved it. After my medical training, I took advantage of a government initiative that let me tour the medical environments in several northern, underserviced communities in the province. You colleagues say you humanize patients when describing their care or sharing information. Why is that impor- tant to you? It’s true, when I hand over a patient’s care to a colleague, I like to paint a picture of the whole person – not just their disease or the issue that brought them to the emergency room that day. It’s a small community, and it is very rare for me to see a patient I don’t know; so it is easy to know the little facts and stories that make them who they are. And I think it is impor- tant for all of us in the care circle to recognize patients as people – sometimes you need the personal context to effectively treat the disease. I also take the time to really chat with pa- tients and explain everything to them. Patient education is important – once the patient has all the information and understanding, it makes it easier for them to handle treatment and their situation. How did you end up choosing Kirkland Lake as the place to settle down? That’s a funny story. As I said, I visited a bunch of places in the north during my tour, one of which was Kirkland Lake. The medi- cal community was extremely welcoming and I could tell it was a place where people took care of each other. I bought a house in the area before I was even offered a position! Luckily, at the same time, the physician responsible for running the Kirkland Lake emergency room resigned, so I was asked to take over working in the emergency department and doing the schedule. I said “yes”, and I’ve been doing it for 29 years now. What are the important considerations when looking for physicians to join your community? Well, in general, all small communities are terribly underserviced, and most specialists are welcomed with open arms. But at the end of the day, I want to improve the health-care service we provide in every corner of Kirkland Lake. The best physicians for our community see what I saw when I arrived here 29 years ago: a medical community full of camaraderie and support that is just incredible. People who come here form friendships and work hard. We attract like-minded people and the right ones tend to stay. other career options, I thought about my inter- ests and academic focus (biology and neurosci- ence) – but I also really wanted to pick a career that would not be boring, that would keep my interest for a long time. Human interaction, as any physician will tell you, is never boring! MD ISSUE 3, 2019 DIALOGUE 19