David Carver

December 2016

University of Ottawa

Q1) It is your Chief year! Did you ever believe this year would come? How would you reflect on the journey overall thus far?

It has been a challenging but very rewarding 4 years! I can’t imagine doing anything else.

dave carver surgeon ottawa
A reunion at the American College of Surgery Clinical Congress this year in Washington with friends from the 2012 CaRMS tour – from left to right: Sean Bennett (PGY3 CIP, Ottawa), Cecily Morgan-Jonker (PGY5, UBC), myself (PGY5, Ottawa)

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’ll be heading to Calgary for a Trauma and Acute Care Fellowship in July, 2017.

Q3) What are you going to miss the most about residency?

We’re a big family here in Ottawa. I’ll miss the familiar faces and the common experiences that I’ve shared with my colleagues.

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 medical school at Dalhousie (Halifax, NS). As with most things in my life, I lucked out and had a chance to work with an excellent mentor who happened to be a general surgeon. The rest is history.

Q5) Where did you grow up and what did you do in your life before medicine? Not just professionally, but did you have any hobbies or passions that you still pursue?

I’m originally from Charlottetown, PEI. Anyone who’s spent time with me knows that I’m a very proud Islander. I was fortunate to have a fairly direct route from high school, to a biology degree at Acadia University and on to medical school. I served a few scoops of ice cream and spent a few summers in the lab to keep me busy along the way.

Q6) What is the most memorable thing that you have done outside of surgery in the last five years?

I recently travelled to India and Dubai with my wife, Andrea. With the exception of a few weekends away near Ottawa, this was our only real trip during my residency training. We were away for 2 weeks and I strongly encourage my colleagues to get away for a longer trip at some point during residency!

Q7) What was the absolute funniest moment during your residency?

Let’s just say it involved a prolapsed rectum, a dozen sugar packets, and a patient who refused to stop eating their toast and peanut butter as I reduced their presenting complaint.

Q8) Do you have any call superstitions or routines?

I never make plans while on call – it’s a recipe for disappointment.

Q9) 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?

Life gets a lot easier if your professional priorities revolve around your patients. Residency is not just about getting to the finish line or getting ahead. If you prioritize your patients, your colleagues and your mentors notice this and everything else (day-to-day interactions with your staff, independence inside and outside the OR, fellowships, jobs) becomes easier.

ottawa group whitewater trips
White water rating during a University of Ottawa general surgery resident retreat

Q10) Rapid fire:

What is the operation you dislike the most?

The one ahead of us on the emergency OR list.

What is the operation you like the most?

A nasty Hartmann’s or an easy gallbladder.

What is your go-to surgery textbook?

Junior years – Sabiston’s. Senior years – Cameron’s and anything else that helps me answer the question.

White coat or hoodie?

White coat

Single glove or double glove?


Dry scrub or wet scrub?


Trauma laparotomy or elective Whipple?

Trauma Whipple

Inexperienced junior resident or inexperienced ER staff?

Inexperienced junior resident – I can teach them something!

Open inguinal hernia repair or laparoscopic?


Monocryl or skin staples?


Perianal abscess I+D or ingrown toenail?

???? Perianal!