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Unprecedented loss; Six Canadian doctors dead in July


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In a potentially unprecedented set of circumstances, six doctors have died in Canada this month (July 2022).

 Three of the doctors from an Ontario hospital network died within just days of each other. Dr Lorne Segall was said to have lost a year-long battle with advanced lung cancer on July 17. 

The husband of 22 years and devoted father of three was only 49-years-old.

An obituary posted in memory of Dr Segall stated that “Lorne was first and foremost a devoted father and perfect partner. Enough cannot be said about the overwhelming love he gave to his family – he was eternally calm and generous in time and patience. 

His second devotion was to his work as an Otolaryngologist at Credit Valley Hospital. Lorne was an intelligent clinician and a talented surgeon. He was dedicated to his practice and to helping patients.”

In a memo from Trillium Health, Dr Segall was described as the “consummate gentleman and an all-around great person, he truly embodied the spirit of teamwork.”

Tragically one day later, on 18 July, Dr Stephen McKenzie – a neurologist and one of the Trillium Health neurology department’s founding members, died at the age of 39 years. Trillium Health described Dr McKenzie as a “source of stability” and “his talent for teaching was invaluable”. 

Reports suggest Dr McKenzie had battled a serious but undisclosed illness in the lead-up to his death.

A third doctor, Dr Jakub Sawicki, who also worked as part of the Trillium Health Partners surgical assistance team, was the director of pain medicine for the region. According to his wife, Iris, Dr Sawicki was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in August 2021. 

Dr Sawicki was in his early 30’s. He died on 19 July 2022, just two weeks after the birth of his son, John-Paul.

Trillium Health Partners released a statement on Wednesday following the deaths stating, “it is with deep sadness that Trillium Health Partners mourns the loss of three of our physicians who recently passed away”.

A fourth physician, Dr Shahriar Jalali Mazlouman, aged just 44 years, was found deceased at a local swimming pool in Saskatchewan on Saturday, 23 July 2022. It was reported that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to the D.A. Mackenzie Aquatic Center at around 1.30pm in response to reports of a man found unresponsive in the pool. The Iranian-born doctor was pronounced deceased by paramedics at the scene. The cause of death is still under investigation.

Dr Paul D. Hannam, a well-known leader in Canadian Emergency Medicine, died from a confirmed heart attack on 16 July 2022 whilst out running. A friend and fellow emergency physician Dr Howard Ovenssent out a heartfelt tweet in response to Dr Hannam’s sudden and unexpected death. The “Olympic sailor, marathon runner, family man, ED director at NYGH, a sweet, thoughtful, compassionate and gentle man died suddenly today on a run. The quintessential mensch. Hug someone you love”.

New York General Hospital, where Dr Hannam worked, said, “our hearts are heavy as we remember our dear friend and colleague…a highly respected and trusted colleague, devoted to patients and community”. In an outpouring of grief, many previous colleagues described Dr Hannam as a kind and thoughtful leader, a wonderful person in every way and an incredible athlete.

Dr Candace Nayman, aged just 27 years of age, is the youngest of the doctors to have passed. According to news reports, Dr Nayman competed in a triathlon on Sunday, 24 July, when she collapsed during a swim. 

She died four days later, on Thursday, 28 July 2022. Dr Nayman was a triathlete and resident doctor at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. 

Following her death, McMaster Children’s Hospital posted a tribute to Dr Nayman on Facebook, saying, “the entire MCH community is heartbroken over the tragic passing of Dr Nayman, a pediatric resident. She embodied the excellence, caring, compassion and change-the-world attitude to which we all aspire. 

On Sunday, Dr Nayman collapsed while competing in a triathlon. She passed away on Thursday, July 28. We are sending love today to her family, friends and loved ones”.

The McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation said in a memorial to Dr Nayman that “Candace wished to breathe life and spirit into everything she did and at the time of her passing was able to donate organs to four individuals who will continue her legacy in their own lives”.

The overwhelming loss of so many physicians in such a short time will no doubt leave a lasting gap in the medical fraternity throughout Canada.




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