Most Ontarians have a close and very important relationship with their family doctor. If you are lucky enough to have a primary care physician in some isolated parts of Ontario you consider yourself indeed fortunate. If you are without a family doctor, that can be a significant cause for stress and worry.
The Ontario Medical Association would like during the month of May for Ontarians to “recognize the extraordinary contributions made by Ontario doctors in the health care system.”
According the OMA, every day in Ontario “335,000 patients are treated and cared for by doctors. Whether it is in a hospital, a long-term care home, a clinic or at a patient’s home, Ontario’s doctors are making a positive difference in the lives of patients by providing high quality health care.”
Ontario’s 40,000 doctors can be found in a variety of settings and from my experience they are genuinely good and hard working people.
My family has been very lucky to have Dr. Rose Jackson as our primary care physician for more than thirty years. Dr. Jackson has been with us through thick and thin: my car accident, sick kids, difficult pregnancies and multiple trips to the Ross for surgery. My wife and I have always agreed that what makes Dr. Jackson an excellent doctor for our family is that she actually listens, and tries her best to come up with a treatment plan that we are most comfortable with. She provides us many possible options and allows us to choose. She is easy to talk to, and for years we have driven her office staff crazy by often overstaying our welcome by talking politics or children. My boys trust her implicitly, and we were lucky enough to have her help with the delivery of one of our children.
Dr. Jackson is a reader, and seldom is there something new to family practice that she is unable to talk about. She is also very well connected, and we discovered after my car accident that Dr. Jackson and her magic Rolodex opened the doors to a world of specialists, osteopaths, chiropractors, pain management experts and physiotherapists who were instrumental in me regaining most of the mobility that I had pre-accident.
Our biggest fear is that we know Rose and her husband Chris are in the twilight of their careers as family doctors, and that retirement may be sooner than later. It will not only be hard to find another family doctor in Lindsay once she retires, it will be well nigh impossible to find a better family doctor than we have had since 1986.
As important as family doctors are they are only part of the health care system here in Ontario. Most Ontarians sometime in their lives will visit a specialist because they need cataracts removed, a hip replaced or a hernia repaired.
Four years ago I had a retinal bleed that cost me the vision in my right eye. I have been indeed fortunate to have been able to access the expertise of fine surgeons and optical experts in Bowmanville, Kingston and Peterborough who have helped return to me to at least partial vision in my damaged eye.
The last two years I have been seeing Dr. Jonathan Hurst at the Peterborough Clinic. He is a brilliant young doctor and a gifted surgeon. Dr. Hurst has taken a genuine interest in my case, and has gotten to know me not just as a patient but a person. He has spent hours talking to colleagues about my condition looking for alternative therapies that might help improve my vision. He shows me all the data that is gathered at every appointment, and explains the multiple pictures that are taken of both of my eyes at every visit. He understands that I need to know, and that the more I know is a good thing rather than something that will get in the way of my treatment and care.
There is an urban myth about surgeons that they a cool, aloof and really not “good people persons.” I am so lucky that Dr. Hurst in no way fits that stereotype. He has a winning bedside manner, is an excellent listener, and can be very honest with me whether the news is bad or good. I appreciate that he apologizes for the discomfort that I experience during my monthly needle visits, and he always sounds like he means it.
I have no idea where my vision will end up, but I don’t believe for a moment that my surgeon is not doing everything possible to improve my quality of life.
If you happen to visit you family doctor or specialist this month or any month, don’t be afraid to thank them for the important role they play in ensuring that you and your family live the best life possible. They will certainly appreciate your kind words.