WLMH’s `Surgeon of the Week’ program brings city docs to community hospital
Surgeons from Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) two largest hospitals are travelling to Grimsby on a regular basis, bringing their specialized surgical skills and expertise to patients at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH).
“Our WLMH patients really appreciate this approach.”
The 10 surgeons from the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC) and Hamilton General Hospital (HGH) are part of WLMH’s Surgeon of the Week (SOTW) program, where they take turns working one-week stretches in Grimsby.
Bringing high-quality surgical care to WLMH
“It’s a real win-win”
“The SOTW program means that patients from West Niagara can receive high-quality surgical care close to home,” says Dr. Ved Tandan, WLMH’s site chief of surgery. Tandan, a general surgeon specializing in liver and pancreatic surgery, developed the program and recruited the physicians. He also participates in the weekly rotations.
“It’s a real win-win for the WLMH operating room team and community residents to have specialized care available close to home,” says Angela Leslie, clinical manager of colposcopy, obstetrics and peri-op services at WLMH, and nurse manager for the SOTW program.
The dream team
Joining Tandan from the JHCC are Dr. Stephen Kelly, surgeon in chief for HHS; Dr. Shawn Forbes, JHCC’s site chief of surgery; and Dr. Deepak Dath and Dr. Elena Parvez. The HGH physicians are Dr. Samir Faidi, medical director of the trauma program; Dr. Niv Sne, head of general surgery at HGH; and Dr. Kamya Kahnamoui, Dr. Edward Passos and Dr. Tim Rice.
“Our surgeons provide the full scope of care for patients.”
Through the SOTW program, these surgeons provide general surgery services at WLMH. This includes consultations for patients in the emergency department, and inpatient and outpatient referrals. Procedures include day surgeries, endoscopy procedures and follow-up care.
“We’re not just there to operate,” says Tandan. “Our surgeons provide the full scope of care for patients.”
With this model of care, surgeons spend one-week stretches at WLMH where they’re developing strong professional relationships with the staff, patients and the community. “They’re not just parachuting in to do a surgery and then returning to the city,” says Tandan.
Appreciated by patients
Prior to the SOTW program, WLMH had one full-time general surgeon dedicated to the full scope of general surgery. This new SOTW approach — developed after that surgeon retired – features a rotating team of JHCC and HGH surgeons. The SOTW approach means that West Niagara patients benefit from a wide range of subspecialty expertise.
“…It’s fairly unique – especially in Canada.”
For example, patients with specific health care issues, such as those needing liver or pancreatic surgery, can be referred to the general surgeon specializing in that field. If they need a larger surgery, they may be referred to a Hamilton hospital, but could receive before-and-after care at WLMH.
“Our WLMH patients really appreciate this approach,” says Tandan.
Both Tandan and Leslie say they aren’t aware of similar SOTW programs provincially or nationally. “If this model of care exists, it’s rare,” says Leslie.
Fourth-year McMaster University life sciences student Harriet Owen is doing a placement at WLMH, and is researching other similar programs.
“I’ve done some research into this type of program and agree that it’s fairly unique, especially in Canada,” says Owen. “I think it’s more common in Europe, especially England and Northern Ireland.”
Finding surgeons to participate in SOTW wasn’t difficult. In fact, more JHCC and HGH surgeons offered to take part that were needed. That interest could come in handy when the new Grimsby hospital is built. The existing two updated operating suites will be replaced by three brand new operating suites and a procedure suite for endoscopy and minor procedures.
“It won’t be a challenge to find surgeons willing to travel to West Lincoln, that’s for sure,” says Tandan. “Everyone loves coming here. It’s a terrific hospital with excellent facilities and a friendly, welcoming and talented operating room team.”