I'm discovering that there's very little rest for a CEO.  The reward is meeting people, celebrating accomplishments, and listening to where people hope to take UHN and I'm very happy to have had the opportunity over the last four months to contribute.  I started last week with a Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospital Foundation event which was held to celebrate the people who have at least 10 years of service in that organization.  What was immediately clear to me was the commitment that our fundraisers have to the good that can be done with the money they raise.  They stay with our Foundations because they are passionate about the work of individual clinicians, educators and researchers, programs, or what may be possible in the future.  I see the same passion in the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation staff and the staff of the Toronto Rehab Foundation and so, on behalf of everyone at UHN, I want to thank all of our fundraisers.  You are committed, dedicated, and passionate about your work and I thank you for it.

I also attended the first of the Research Town Halls on Monday at TWH and it was a packed house.  Brad Wouters took us through the reorganization in Research Support Services and answered questions from the audience.  The use of a digital method of asking and posting questions from the audience was clearly appreciated by everyone and I know the team in Research will be grouping the questions and posting answers after all of the Town Halls are completed.  If you're interested, click here for the dates, times and locations of the remaining Town Halls.

The most touching moment of last week was reading a letter from a mother whose daughter had requested Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).  Below, in italics, is a portion of that letter which expresses the gratitude for those who provide the MAiD service.  The letter has been edited to protect the privacy of this family but those named in the letter have received a copy from Patient Relations. 

From that time (diagnosis and treatment) until her death she, and her family received the best of care, timely, competent and so compassionate from the primary team in the clinic, the palliative care team and finally the MAiD team.  From her request for information about MAiD to the implementation of the procedure she felt so supported as did the rest of her family. The MAiD coordinator was with us every step of the way. The steps in the procedure were explained to my daughter and to us in a very accessible manner by the physician. Nothing was rushed, there was lots of time and many opportunities for questions and discussions. The MAiD team were so accommodating with my daughter's minister who was given the opportunity and  made to feel very comfortable in expressing her needs for carrying out my daughter's final wishes. This was a first for the minister so she appreciated very much the positive interactions she had with the team.

We were very grateful that this option was available to my daughter and for how it all unfolded from the beginning to the end. I think it went just as she would have wanted it to. I have been present at a few deaths and never have I witnessed such a gentle and peaceful one.

I want to recognize Drs. Gary Rodin and Madeline Li who led a team of people to ensure that UHN's approach to Medical Assistance in Dying was considered, thoughtful and available to UHN patients.  You can see the team's work here on the UHN website.  This work means that our MAiD program is compliant with Canada's federal law, available to patients for whom it is an option, and considerate of individuals who struggle with the idea that this service is now part of health care.


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