June 19, 2024


You are Your Only Limit

Longtime doc appears back on career, changes in unexpected emergency medicine

6 min read

Dr. Tom Armstrong, who recently retired from RVH, gravitated towards the ER mainly because no working day was at any time the exact ‘You never ever realized what was coming in’

Most folks try out to limit their time in the crisis area, but Dr. Tom Armstrong has used the final 45 several years there.

Armstrong, who served as the main of the crisis department at Royal Victoria Regional Overall health Centre (RVH) for virtually two many years, admitted that whilst rising up on a farm a lot more than 200 kilometres from Barrie, a vocation in medicine wasn’t automatically usually on his radar.

The 74-calendar year-old physician, and now recently retired, grew up on a farm in close proximity to Cayuga, about 45 minutes south of Hamilton. He tells BarrieToday he was usually exposed to veterinary drugs in his youth, which is probably what ultimately spurred his fascination in the area of drugs.

“I definitely just created an desire in drugs at that time, and that just form of progressed. As I acquired into high university and college, I felt the need to switch into doable human medication … (and) which is what initiated professional medical school,” states Armstrong, who attended the College of Toronto and graduated from professional medical faculty in 1975.

The father of a few and grandfather of four also just enjoyed doing the job with people and never ever shied absent from things that had been hard — two major variables that arrived with the task of getting a medical professional.

“I liked troubles and I observed medication to be a definite obstacle,” states Armstrong, who has labored in family members medication, anesthesia and unexpected emergency medication more than the training course of his extensive profession.

Armstrong claims his initial wish was to pursue a occupation as a household medical professional, so just after finishing a just one-year, rotating internship and a 12 months in anesthesia and inner medicine, he started to glimpse for a area to set up shop.

“My spouse was finishing regulation school at the time in Toronto, so I seemed around for a household drugs observe,” he claims. 

Armstrong was mindful of two family members practices in have to have of a medical doctor — one in Collingwood and the other in Innisfil. After examining them each out, he made a decision Innisfil would be a great fit and joined the business in 1977.

“It was undoubtedly additional of a rural-form of farming local community, which was my qualifications, so which is wherever I determined to go,” he states. 

At the time, he says family physicians in the region have been required to be part of the clinical team at the nearby clinic in Barrie and were being predicted to do an unexpected emergency drugs rotation. Though some of his colleagues might have basically tolerated the possibility, it did not choose extensive for Armstrong to come across he truly liked operating in the emergency office.

As the years went on, he understood he’d developed a solid enthusiasm for crisis medicine and in the long run left his loved ones practice in 1982.

“Barrie was escalating alternatively quickly in the 1980s. Again then, the loved ones medicine office protected emerg,” he states. “Loved ones physicians would be called for their clients or would be on city call for people who experienced no household physician. They’d go to emerg, tackle the concern and then go, but there was no on-website medical professional at that time.

“It was really rather obvious that care would be benefitted by a physician currently being on web page,” Armstrong provides.

Offered his distinctive curiosity in unexpected emergency drugs, Armstrong soon volunteered to acquire on that function when the prospect arose.

“The medical center experienced a unique conference and they produced a independent emergency section, and mainly because I was interested I volunteered to be the main of emerg and I transferred into whole-time crisis medicine,” he claims. 

Regardless of the worry that came with the task, Armstrong says he enjoyed the sense of urgency that came with some of the far more intricate situations and the actuality that not one particular day was ever the similar.

“I enjoyed the troubles and that the demands would adjust. You in no way understood what was coming in and it was normally anything diverse. It was a wide variety of dynamic medicine that I relished,” he says. 

More than his four-10 years-plus career, Armstrong has observed a lot of transform, not only in the area ER but in emergency medication as a entire.

“The amount of money of investigative resources you have now is very remarkable,” he claims. “Given that commencing in unexpected emergency drugs, there’s been the improvement of ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs and that has improved the whole outlook and altered unexpected emergency medicine to a massive degree.”

Just one of the issues Armstrong is significantly proud of is getting aspect of the typical updating of the hospital’s unexpected emergency catastrophe approach. In fact, he was performing the day a lethal tornado strike Barrie on May possibly 31, 1985. He saw the strategy in entire result that dark working day in the city’s historical past.

“I was quite amazed with how it labored and it was a entire group effort. That is just one matter that definitely sticks in my mind,” he says. 

An additional very pleased instant for the longtime health practitioner is getting to see a single of his children adhere to in his footsteps. He was even permitted to be on phase and give his daughter her diploma.

“I take pleasure in looking at her go through healthcare faculty and we have experienced several conversations about concerns,” he says.

Armstrong’s daughter now will work as the medical director of the unexpected emergency division at RVH.

Meanwhile, something he believes hasn’t been as optimistic of a modify has been the decrease in the selection of family members doctors who also do the job in the ER.

“When I arrived to Barrie, it was essentially a tiny metropolis and relatives medical doctors had been the kinds that did a good deal of the main care at the medical center,” Armstrong states. “As the hospital has developed to this kind of a dimensions, one thing I obtain is loved ones medical professionals are not in the hospital approximately as a great deal due to the fact the care has been taken above by consultants and specialists.”

In a excellent globe, Armstrong admits he’d desire to see spouse and children health professionals have a a lot more associated function in affected person care in the unexpected emergency department.  

“The spouse and children doctors were being the types who sufferers relied on,” he claims. “They trusted them and they realized them. Now, you have any person in care of you, but it isn’t the very same information of your track record. It is just not pretty the exact same.”

Possessing formally retired very last calendar year Armstrong has a several phrases of suggestions for anybody just commencing out in the area – and that consists of only undertaking what you adore.

“In faculty you have a lot of steering, but I am not so absolutely sure that assistance normally prospects in the most constructive path,” he adds. “They’ll frequently look at your marks and say if you are great at arithmetic you should really be an accountant.

“I imagine the a lot more simple queries must be (if) you like to work with individuals or do you like to work solo? Do you like to get the job done indoors or outside? What are the worries you’d like to see in your life?”

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