University of Western Ontario
Q1) It is your Chief year! Did you ever believe this year would come? How would you reflect on the journey overall thus far?
In actual fact, I am amazed how quickly residency has gone by! The journey has been demanding, but overwhelmingly rewarding. There are thousands of people who would drop everything to do the work we get to, so I am forever grateful for being able to do general surgery.
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?
Currently I am seeking a clinical fellowship in pediatric surgery, and will be moving to Ottawa to do a clinical research fellowship!
Q3) What are you going to miss the most about residency?
My co-residents. We’ve been through hell and back again together, and it will be hard to say goodbye my amazing friends.
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?
“Captain hook, I’ve had an apostrophe!”…. “That’s an epiphany Smee.” I went to medical school at Western and thought I would follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a pediatrician. Then I did inpatient pediatrics and was dying to return to the OR.
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?
My formative years were spent in Tecumseh, a small town outside of Windsor. Growing up I loved getting outside, sailing on the Detroit River and of course playing my bagpipes.
Q6) What is the most memorable thing that you have done outside of surgery in the last five years?
It would be a legendary scotch-tasting trip through the highlands of Scotland with my friends. 4 guys, one small Vauxhall and an unquenchable thirst for adventure (and scotch).
Q7) What was your most memorable night on call?
My most memorable call was with a senior resident mentor and current trauma fellow, Dr. Dave Paskar. We call is “The day of 3 A-cases”. Three patients needing emergent laparotomies presenting within 10 minutes of each other. It was a wild day!
Q8) What was the absolute funniest moment during your residency?
When Jimmy was found under the bridge at CAGS.
Q9) How about the scariest moment during your residency?
Being blamed for Jimmy being found under the bridge by Dr. Leslie.
Q10) Do you have any call superstitions or routines?
None, I’m not superstitious…. not even a little bit “stitious.”
Q11) 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?
Don’t let speculation and pessimism preclude you from doing one of the most rewarding careers possible. Surgery is rapidly evolving, and with that comes immense opportunity if you are willing to rise to the occasion.
Q12) Rapid fire:
What do you listen to in the OR?
Anything by Ronnie James Dio
What is the operation you dislike the most?
A low anterior resection on a morbidly obese man
What is the operation you like the most?
Lap right colectomy
What is your favourite medical TV show?
Rick and Morty
What is your go-to surgery textbook?
Favourite post-call activity?
Large meat-filled sandwich and Guinness
What is your favourite “go-to” food on call?
Shawarma…. unleash the garlic
White coat or hoodie?
White coat… It’s Doctor, not dancer
Dry scrub or wet scrub?
Wet then dry
Trauma laparotomy or elective Whipple?
Inexperienced junior resident or inexperienced ER staff?
ER doc – a good junior is worth their weight in gold, a good ER doc still goes home after 8 hours
Open inguinal hernia repair or laparoscopic?
Open for the first time
Monocryl or skin staples?
Perianal abscess I+D or ingrown toenail?????
The toe fo’sho