Chris Pastor

March 2020

Q1) It is your Chief year! Did you ever believe this year would come? How would you reflect on the journey overall thus far? 
Everyone always says it goes by fast. For me, the junior years seemed like forever and then one day I was a senior and the next day a chief.

Q2) So what is next?  Where are you off to in July? Have you already lined up a job or a fellowship or are you still keeping your options open?
I developed an interest in pediatric surgery late in my training. I am currently working on joining the pediatric surgery group at CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) as the clinical research fellow.

Q3) What are you going to miss the most about residency?
I’m going to miss the people. Not just my fellow residents, but the other specialists and hospital staff I’ve come to know along the way.

Q4) Where did you go to medical school and how did you come about the decision to specialize in General Surgery? Was it something you gradually got into or is there an “aha” moment from your background or training?
I went to Ross University in the Caribbean and was fortunate enough to do my clerkship at the University of Saskatchewan Regina campus. My initial plan was to do rural family medicine. The aha moment was one night when I was doing family medicine call. The patient had been seen in the clinic earlier in the week and now their spouse was calling because the patient had deteriorated and was acutely ill at home. I asked them to call 911 and I would meet them in the emergency department. When I arrived, ICU was involved and a big team was resuscitating the patient, securing an airway, and inserting a central line. My staff from the Family Medicine clinic, who is an excellent clinician in the stable outpatient setting, recognized this patient was in good hands; he said “oh good, ICU is here, we can go” and then he walked out of the emergency department. As clerkship continued, I noticed that when patients were in extremis, it was often the general surgeon that was called and I knew I wanted the skills and training to be involved with the sickest patients.

Q5) What is the most memorable thing that you have done outside of surgery in the last five years?
I was fortunate enough to have two daughters during residency. Audrey and Grace.

Q6) What was your most memorable night on call?
You never forget your first ruptured AAA. The outcome was great as well so it helps that it is a good memory.

Q7) What was the absolute funniest moment during your residency?
There was a baby shower for me and another resident in my year. Someone had the bright idea that we should see who could drink a beer the fastest from a baby bottle. It turns out a carbonated beverage in a sealed container can generate some significant pressure and one of the contestants ended up spraying beer all over the hosts apartment.

Q8) How about the scariest moment during your residency?
I was at a rural site and was working alone just doing a central line. It would flush and not withdraw; I had just read about a case of a central line perforating the SVC so it was fresh in my mind. Waiting for that CXR was terrifying. Ultimately the tip had flipped up into the subclavian and it was an easy fix.

Q9) Do you have any call superstitions or routines?
I avoid uttering the ‘Q’ word (quiet)

Q10) 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?
No advice that isn’t cliché. See and do as much as you can and don’t miss any opportunity. You’ll often miss being able to directly thank people who help you along the way, so try and be appreciative at every experience. Always remember many people (including your former self!) wish and pray they could be like you and have the opportunities you have.

Q11) What would your juniors say is the best thing about you?
Hopefully they think I’m funny. I think I am; they might just think I’m too sarcastic or mean.

Q12) Rapid fire:

  1. What do you listen to in the OR? Canadian rock
  2. What is the operation you dislike the most? Does rigid sigmoidoscopy count as an operation?
  3. What is the operation you like the most? Nissen fundoplication
  4. What is your favourite medical TV show? Scrubs
  5. What is your go-to surgery textbook? Greenfield’s
  6. What is your post-call ritual? Going out for breakfast
  7. What is your favourite “go-to” food on call? Tim Horton’s Chili
  8. White coat or hoodie? Hoodie
  9. Single or double glove? Double is the policy at our institution, so double
  10. Dry scrub or wet scrub? dry, specifically sterillium
  11. Trauma laparotomy or elective Whipple? Trauma laparotomy
  12. Open inguinal hernia repair or laparoscopic? Laparoscopic
  13. Monocryl or skin staples? Monocryl
  14. Perianal abscess I+D or ingrown toenail????? Ingrown toenail