By Maryanne Matthews - April 19, 2017
Dr. Mary MacDonald is Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s newest vascular surgeon. Originally from Halifax, she joined our team of talented physicians last November as a key player of the expanding cardiovascular program.
Vascular surgery is a cardiovascular surgical subspecialty that focuses on diseases of the vascular system, or arteries and veins outside of the brain or heart. Vascular surgeons manage these through medical therapy, minimally invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction.
A skilled surgeon, Dr. MacDonald attended university in British Columbia, medical school in Halifax, and completed her vascular training in Calgary. When the opportunity came along to take the position at our Hospital, she knew she wanted to get on board.
“I had previously practiced here as a visiting physician, working with Dr. Yaasin Abdulrehman, and was very impressed with the caliber of this facility and all the amazing resources offered,” she said. “Being a part of this new program and helping to build it from the ground up is a really interesting and rewarding challenge.”
Vascular surgery is a much needed service in Northwestern Ontario, and Dr. MacDonald is proud to be part of the team that has made it a reality. “Our program provides life- and limb-saving care for so many patients,” she said. “For critical and emergency patients in particular, it can make the all the difference in terms of preventing amputations – which occur more frequently in Northwestern Ontario than the rest of the province. Our ultimate goal is to reduce our region’s overall amputation rate by making arterial bypass surgery more accessible.”
Although Dr. MacDonald is currently our only vascular surgeon, she is quick to recognize the amount of teamwork it takes to run such a program. She works closely with a dedicated team of interventional radiologists, nurses, specialists, anesthesiologists, imaging and lab technologists, and physician assistants. “This wouldn’t be possible without everyone’s contributions, from the care providers to the administration,” she said. “Everyone has put a lot of work into this program to ensure that our patients and families have access to vascular surgery, close to home.”
In addition to the fantastic facility, resources and colleagues, Dr. MacDonald is also grateful to work at a Hospital that really values patient and family centred care. “My favourite part of this job is the patient interactions. We maintain communication with our patients and follow their health developments for quite a significant period of time, so we really get to know them,” she said. “Keeping track of their progress and ensuring they are doing well is the most rewarding part of what we do. My hope is to build a practice where we continue to work closely with all of our patients and their families, including those from the region, and give them a home base for world class care.”
To learn more about vascular services at our Hospital, visit www.tbh.net. Donations to the Northern Cardiac Fund support the critical development of the cardiovascular surgery program. For more information, or to make a donation, please visit www.healthsciencesfoundation.ca or call 345-4673.