CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Interior – Kelowna General Hospital
Can you tell us about your educational background and journey? How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in Calgary and lived there until the age of 18. I left Alberta to realize my first dream of becoming a collegiate level hockey player in the NCAA while obtaining an excellent education at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI, Troy NY). It was here I decided to attend medical school to become a Pediatrician. It wasn’t long into my stint at Boston University School of Medicine, when I realized that Orthopaedics was by far the best job in the hospital. I felt that the Orthopaedic specialty gave you the opportunity to truly make a positive impact in someone’s life, be it a fractured limb, that without surgery would render a person unable to walk again; or relieving a 10-year history of pain and dysfunction with a joint replacement, or even giving an athlete the gift of returning to sport in reconstructing their knee ligament.
When I started medical school, I had no idea what an orthopaedic surgeon even was, all it took was watching one hip replacement; the physics, the technicality, and the improvement in the patient’s life; I was hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed my educational journey in the United States, and feel it has given me a unique perspective on healthcare back home in Canada. I was lucky enough to match to UBC Orthopaedics and completed my orthopedic residency here from 2009-2014. Throughout my residency I always enjoyed Trauma, but arthroscopy kept pulling me back in. I have a true belief that the two fellowships were a powerful and complementary duo. My trauma fellowship has paid itself off in dividends having found myself, staff, at Kelowna General Hospital, with an exponentially growing population, and trauma burden.
What inspired you to work in orthopaedics, specifically arthroscopy?
As a former athlete, I always loved the idea of being able to work with an athletic patient population. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the initial challenge of operating through the arthroscope. It seemed incredibly frustrating at the outset, but has led to the development of an entirely different and exciting skill set, compared to open surgery. In addition, the field is at the forefront of innovation and technology. This growth is always something that I wanted to be a part of.
What excites you most about your work? What are you most proud of?
I completed my Arthroscopic Reconstruction fellowship at UBC in 2016. Today, nothing makes me prouder than seeing my patients return to the playing field after a potentially career-ending injury.
My current practice of trauma surgery and arthroscopic reconstruction has allowed me to become one of the point people in the Okanagan for dealing with complex Multi-Ligamentous injuries. It has opened up doors to be involved in the hockey world again, as the Orthopaedic Consultant for the Kelowna Rockets WHL team. My current practice has also allowed me to be involved in innovation by constantly updating and refining techniques.
My current passion is attempting to ease patients’ pre-operative course with education and “pre-habilitation” via technology and innovation. I am currently developing a cloud-based, “app” centred, pre-surgical pathway for ACL patients. I hope to provide this for all patients undergoing ACL surgery in Kelowna, and eventually, the entire Okanagan.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to current trainees?
Residency can be long, and somewhat frustrating at times. To this day, I still believe that Orthopaedics is absolutely the best job in all of medicine. Find what you love in each rotation, and treat it as if it is the field you will be pursuing. I promise you, there is no piece of this learning curve that is redundant, or superfluous. Work hard, and HAVE FUN. I know that seems hard as a first-year or second-year resident, but you will look back at your residency as one of the very best times of your life. Also, find some lucky footwear, and don’t ever let anyone make you throw them in the garbage. My residency OR cowboy boots might be full of holes, but their soles are strong, and they live on.
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
During residency, I embraced the “work hard, play hard” mentality, and continued playing the highest-level hockey I could, snowboarded as much as humanly possible, golfed, hiked, traveled and even completed an Ironman (70.3) in my 5th year. Today, however, I am in the thick of a whole different set of challenges. My wife and I have FOUR children (all ages 5 and under)! As much as I would like to say I snowboard every weekend, keep up my golf handicap, or continue on my triathlon journey… you’ll find me at home, knee-deep in diapers, toddler meltdowns, and a whole lot of sleepless nights!