1) As always, I'll start with our safety highlights from last week – including some incredible stories of TeamUHN coming together:

  • Our Emergency Departments stand ready to respond: UHN works to be well prepared to serve with patients with infectious diseases. Occasionally, as happened last week, the teams encounter a patient with suggestive symptoms and a travel history which prompts the use of our protocol for infectious disease such as Ebola. Thanks are due to a number of teams for their cool, calm and appropriate response. This includes everyone in Toronto Western's Emergency Department, the team in Infection Prevention and Control, the team in Emergency Preparedness, the teams in Laboratory Medicine and Public Affairs. In potential cases such as these we also work closely with our colleagues at Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada. It further confirms my feeling that TeamUHN rises to the occasion at all times.
  • Toronto Western staff rush over to Toronto General to save a patient's life: One of our critically ill patients at Toronto General experienced sudden one-sided paralysis following a transplant. The stroke team (Antonio Gallo and Leanne Casaubon) and on-site CT team acted quickly, finding a clot in a critical brain artery that required immediate removal, but the specialized neuro-thrombectomy equipment needed to remove it was only available at Toronto Western. To make matters worse, our paramedic colleagues were unable to transport the patient to Toronto Western because the risk associated with moving the patient was too high. The vascular and interventional radiology team – led by KT Tan, Karen MacDonald and Sue Cleverly – immediately opened a room at Toronto General while Toronto Western's Sharon Foskett and Magda Dunlop pulled the necessary material for the thrombectomy into a suitcase and hurried over, where the room was ready and waiting for them. Timo Krings, together with Toronto General's nurses and technologists, was able to get the patient's clot out just in time before major damage was inflicted on the patient's brain. Medicine is a team sport and we see this every day at UHN, but this is a remarkable example. Many thanks to all involved.
  • Hats off to our housekeeping staff: Many thanks to Steve Ferreira, one of our dedicated colleagues in housekeeping at Toronto General, for flagging a biohazard bag he saw in a regular garbage bin. The hazardous waste has since been removed and dealt with, preventing possible harm for inappropriate waste disposal!
  • UHN teams and individuals recognized for innovative work to improve the patient and provider experience: We received four Certificates of Recognition for this year's Minister's Medal awards [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] in the category of Outstanding Innovation. Congratulations to the teams behind Caring Safely, eConsent System, Quickstart Radiotherapy, and Interfacility Transport of the Extracorporeal Life Support Dependent Patient. What you do every day to support better value and improve health outcomes is important and recognized within this provincial program.

2) It's the big week: Our 2019-23 Strategic Plan will be introduced soon and guides the next five years for our staff, physicians, researchers, learners and volunteers – TeamUHN! I will send everyone a note once it's ready so please keep an eye on your inboxes. We also have a plan for sharing this important work with those who don't have convenient access to email.

3) Thank you to those who participated in our Open Forum. Now that I've hosted a few – alongside our very own Oprah, Gillian Howard (Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications) – I'd appreciate hearing your feedback. Here is a short 3-question survey where you can share anonymous feedback. And, if you weren't able to tune in, here is the link [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] to watch. The question with the most votes asked what we could do to improve trust between senior leadership and our staff. To hear my response, go to 1:02:03 in the video. This is an important matter and I hope I can count on you all to share your ideas on how we could do better.

4) Last week, I finally had the chance to finish part two of my Pharmacy tour. Thanks to Jin Huh (Senior Director, Pharmacy), Anna Lee (Director, Outpatient Pharmacy) and Olavo Fernandes (Director, Pharmacy Clinical Operations) for organizing a roundtable discussion with our pharmacy site leaders and service managers. I was grateful for their thoughtful questions and for the opportunity to discuss how we might help reduce burnout for our frontline staff. A conversation we will continue and revisit often.

5) Finally, I'd like to acknowledge UHN genetics pioneer Suzanne Kamel-Reid who is retiring at the end of this month, which is great news for Suzanne and bittersweet for all of us. She will also receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Lung Cancer Conference. Since 1990, Suzanne's commitment to advancing cancer diagnostics has grown the Laboratory Medicine Program's Clinical Genetics department from a two-person team to the largest cancer genetics testing program in Canada. We wish her a happy and fun-filled next phase of life!

Have a good week,


Back to Top