​I want to start by wishing everyone at UHN a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.  It is the time of year to gather with family and friends and celebrate, but in saying that I want to recognize the many people who will be working over the holiday season, providing care, support and comfort to people who have health issues serious enough that they must be in our hospitals over the holidays.  We all appreciate that your decision to work over the holidays allows others to rest and be with family.     My Monday message will take a break until the new year as I too will be spending a bit of time away from UHN.  In my absence, Ed Cole and Brian Hodges will take turns as Acting Interim President & CEO.

A special thanks to SarahRose Black and David Loach for inviting me to the annual Christmas Concert last Wednesday on the 14th Floor of Princess Margaret.  These two have been regularly playing and singing together for patients and this event – for inpatients – was particularly touching.  It is a difficult time of year to be in hospital and SarahRose and David made it just a bit easier for our patients and their love ones.  I have included a photograph below of the event and can only say that I wish my daughter who is studying performing arts had their musical talents.

Last week, I attended the 50-year celebration of UHN's Centre for Mental Health. While the "centre" name is only a few years old, it's been half a century since psychiatry became an independent department at both Toronto General and Toronto Western. This is well before the formation of UHN and was in fact part of the formation of the Toronto Hospital. I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on this unique part of our history and—more importantly—the difference we've made in complex mental health and addictions care. Thank you to all our Centre staff for enabling UHN to transform patient lives and care for both mind and body and to Susan Abbey, Paul Garfinkel, Sid Kennedy, Kathy Sabo and Donna Stewart, our thanks for the roles you have played in ensuring that the Centre for Mental Health is there for our patients.

I asked Jin Huh and John Granton to give me an update the situation regarding the shortage of Baxter IV minibags as we are currently on a weekly allocation and still require that everyone continue with conservation measures.  The shortage of this product was caused when Puerto Rico was hit by 2 hurricanes which completely disrupted power on the island. The Baxter manufacturing centre in Puerto Rico has been affected and this has led to a critical shortage of Baxter IV minibags across North America. When this happened UHN, along with all hospitals was faced with the need to conserve as many of the existing minibags as we could and yet continue to provide safe administration of much needed medication. When we heard about the shortage our team of pharmacists, nurses and physicians quickly developed a strategy to reduce the use of these minibags by changing the way we administer medication to our patients. We learned that we often used minibags more for convenience than by necessity. We then aligned our efforts with other organizations across the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and quickly reduced our use of medication, such that our existing 5 to 10 day supply of minibags were preserved for use where they were most critically needed. Congratulations goes out to our Pharmacy, Nursing, Materials Management(Stores), UHN Digital  and physician leadership as well as front line practitioners who were quickly able to change how they practice. Despite the size of our organization this potential crisis illustrates that we can be innovative and be nimble.

And finally, Brad Wouters let me know that Milica Radiscic, a Professor of Engineering at U of T and a member of the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute was awarded the Steacie Prize for 2017.  Milica's work encompasses cardiac tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. This is a high prestigious national prize, given to a person 40 years of age or less who has made notable contributions to research in Canada.  The prize honours Edgar William Richard Steacie, a physical chemist and former President of the National Research Council of Canada. Congrats Milica, what a way to close out 2017!


Back to Top