“Dean is the big “surgical” brother you’ve always wanted – there for everyone, great listener, always up for challenges, resourceful and always giving constructive advice. He is a great team player and an excellent surgeon.”
It is your Chief year! Did you ever believe this year would come? How would you reflect on the journey overall thus far?
I never really saw myself as a chief (and still sometimes don’t). It has been the most life-changing 5 years I have ever experienced. What a ride.
So what is next?
I am doing the trauma and acute care surgery fellowship at Vancouver General Hospital.
What are you going to miss the most about residency?
Taking a post-call day.
Where did you go to medical school and how did you come about the decision to specialize in General Surgery?
I did my MD at the University of Calgary, and initially wanted to do Anaesthesia, but I just found myself migrating to the other side of the curtain on every case. Then I started clerkship by spending 2 weeks with Dr. Peter Stotland at North York General in Toronto and the rest was history. I’ve been lucky enough to have great roll models in general throughout medical school and residency, and ultimately that’s been the biggest factor.
Where did you grow up and what did you do in your life before medicine?
I’m from small-town Northern Ontario where I grew up cross country skiing, playing soccer and any musical instrument I could get my hands on. I still play guitar, hike and workout whenever I can, but with a 2-year old at home now I mostly play trucks and Megablocks.
What is the most memorable thing that you have done outside of surgery in the last five years?
Obligatory getting married and having a kid aside, probably surfing Shark Pit in Maui.
What was your most memorable night on call?
It would have to be the night that solidified trauma for me: we spent 90 minutes in the trauma bay doing open cardiac massage in a 20-year old with a chest wound from an (actual) random act of violence, and then 4 hours in the OR with cardiac surgery putting the patient on bypass and repairing his ventricle. He walked out 12 days later.
How about the scariest moment during your residency?
Probably the same night.
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?
Great question. I once heard a speaker say “Getting the rock to the top of the mountain, that’s not what my goal is. My goal is actually pushing the rock.” It doesn’t mean you have to love every minute of it, but embracing the daily grind means you can squeeze the most out of every opportunity – both to get better and to prove yourself. I believe that kind of attitude sets you up to mitigate the effects of all of those things above, and gives you the best shot to find what you want to do and get good at it.
1. What do you listen to in the OR?
Top 40… But only in the OR.
2. What is the operation you dislike the most?
Ultra-low anterior in a narrow pelvis.
3. What is the operation you like the most?
4. What is your favourite medical TV show?
5. What is your go-to surgery textbook?
6. Favourite post-call activity?
7. What is your favourite “go-to” food on call?
8. Single or double glove?
9. Dry scrub or wet scrub?
Wet scrub, but only if I get a huck towel to dry.
10. Inexperienced junior resident or inexperienced ER staff?
Surgical junior every time: no matter how inexperienced I know they will work hard and get the job done.
Now, about your co-chief…
What is their post call ritual?
The ‘Margolick Triathalon’ – Sauna, Hot Tub, Putz in the pool
What is their funniest moment in residency?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t there, but as an R1 he was in on a big vascular case and his scrub pants started to fall down. He spent a 3-hour case doing the half splits trying to keep his pants above his knees, and kept getting the staff surgeon’s way. At the end of the case he had to discretely back into the wall to pull them up again. I don’t know why he told me about it.
What is their biggest pet peeve?
Asking him if he thinks we need a Resp consult.
What is your favourite thing to do together?
The ‘Margolick Triathalon’
If you had to do a case together, what case would you choose?
MIS distal pancreatectomy
What is your favourite thing about them?
He never takes himself too seriously.
Who is better at:
- Laparoscopic suturing?
- Left-handed tying?
- Writing legibly?
- When people see Joe’s handwriting they think he has hooves
- Adulting post call?
- Definitely Dean
- Making people laugh when the going gets tough?
- Definitely Joe