Caitlin Yeo

March 2019

It is your Chief year! Did you ever believe this year would come? How would you reflect on the journey overall thus far? 

I think everyone knows that chief year comes eventually, but time moves faster than ever in residency with busy schedules and responsibilities. I’ve had an amazing experience during residency, but it hasn’t always been an easy journey. Hard work, dedication, a great team, and a passion for what we’re doing are necessities to make it through.

So what is next?  Where are you off to in July? 

Calgary for Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery Fellowships!

What are you going to miss the most about residency?

Residency at Queen’s is like becoming part of a family. We are a small program, so we get to know the other residents, the staff, and the nurses well. I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way and I will miss them all!

Where did you go to medical school and how did you come about the decision to specialize in General Surgery?

I went to medical school at Queen’s. I’ve always loved working hands-on and knew that a surgical career was best suited for me early in medical school. Dr. Engel was my clinical skills tutor in first year of medical school and over the years has become a personal mentor in General Surgery and Surgical Oncology.

Where did you grow up and what did you do in your life before medicine?

Mississauga/Singapore/Richmond Hill. I still try to get out road biking in the summer and snow boarding in the winter. Does being a foodie count as a hobby?


What is the most memorable thing that you have done outside of surgery in the last five years?

I love traveling! Trips during residency have included Japan, Nepal, Malaysia, and Greece. Plus local trips within Canada/America. I can’t wait to explore new places.

What was your most memorable night on call?

Just last week we had a Boerhaave’s that we took to the OR! That was definitely a lot of fun.

What was the absolute funniest moment during your residency?

Hard to think of one particular funny moment, and there has definitely been some borderline delirium some nights/weekends on call. CAGS conferences have always been a very fun time to get together with friends and past/present residents and have a laugh.

How about the scariest moment during your residency?

The upcoming Royal College Exams??

Do you have any call superstitions or routines?

Call routines have changed from being a junior to senior to chief, but always keep a toothbrush and deodorant in your locker, makes a world of a difference on call!

If you could give some words of wisdom to new Residents starting General Surgery (or to your past self on the first day of residency) in the light of everything we’re facing these days across Canada (limited jobs, duty hour restrictions, more and more specialization), what would it be?

I tell clerks who are interested in General Surgery, that it is the greatest residency/career but it is not for everyone. The surgeries are amazing, the depth and breadth of anatomy and medical knowledge is phenomenal, and you have a huge impact on patient lives. But it is also a very challenging and demanding career. The hours are long and the patients can be very sick. You need to love surgery and have enough passion to be up at all hours of the night. You need to have compassion and patience even when it’s a bad day. But if you have those things, then General Surgery is definitely worth it!

Rapid fire:

1. What do you listen to in the OR?

Just about anything, but favourites are ones that I can sing along to.

2. What is the operation you dislike the most?

Nec Fasc

3. What is the operation you like the most?


4. What is your favourite medical TV show?

House – before I knew anything about actual medicine.

5. What is your go-to surgery textbook?


6. Favourite post-call activity?

What’s post-call?

7. What is your favourite “go-to” food on call?


8. White coat or hoodie?

Hoodie on call, white coat for clinic.

9. Single or double glove?

Single for laparoscopic, double for open.

10. Dry scrub or wet scrub?

Wet scrub at the start of the day, dry scrub in between.

11. Trauma laparotomy or elective Whipple?

Hard call… Whipple.

12. Inexperienced junior resident or inexperienced ER staff?

Inexperienced ER staff – you just go see the consult yourself. We get a lot of non-surgical juniors, some are great and some can create more work instead.

13. Open inguinal hernia repair or laparoscopic?


14. Monocryl or skin staples?


15. Perianal abscess I+D or ingrown toenail?????

Neither, but toenails if I had to pick one.