Physicians honoured for creating an excellent patient care experience

A strong commitment to putting patients and families at the centre of care has earned two physicians a special honour at the Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) site of Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).

Ophthalmologist Dr. Tom Gonder and anesthesiologist Dr. Richard Henry are the first winners of the Exceptional Healer Award, a new annual award of excellence bestowed by the HDH Patient & Family Council on physicians who demonstrate in their clinical practice the core concepts of patient and family-centred care:  dignity and respect, information sharing, participation and collaboration.

“He shows compassion and treats you like an equal, not a number,” wrote one of Dr. Gonder’s nominees, while another described Dr. Henry, a chronic pain specialist, as a caregiver who “made every attempt to alleviate my pain…he has restored my faith that there are still caring and compassionate doctors out there that are human as well.”

A total of 22 physicians were nominated by HDH patients, family members and staff for the award, with several specialists receiving multiple nods.  The nominees were applauded for being good listeners who took time to answer questions and provide information, for showing empathy and compassion and for including other family members when planning and delivering care.

“Flexibility and creativity remain our best hope for steering a course for individual patients and our healthcare system as both strive to find health,” said Dr. Henry in acknowledging the award.

“I’m very honoured to receive the inaugural Exceptional Healer Award.  It means a lot being recognized by my patients,” said Dr. Gonder.  “I would also like to thank the excellent team I work with both in clinic and the Operating Room, who contribute so much to the patient experience.”

The HDH Patient & Family Council was delighted when nominations poured in for the new award.

“It shows just how deeply people appreciate their physicians,” says HDH Patient Experience Advisor Sue Bedell, who chaired the award selection committee.  “While we would have happily honoured all the nominees, we chose Drs. Gonder and Henry for so clearly creating an excellent patient care experience over and above the norm.”

“To be recognized by their patients is always rewarding for a physician,” says Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, KHSC Chief of Staff and Vice-President of Medical Affairs.  “We congratulate all the nominees for truly partnering with patients and families to achieve the best care possible.”

The inaugural Exceptional Healer Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at the HDH site of Kingston Health Sciences Centre. 

By: A. Rutherford

Pictured top right: Ophthalmologist Dr. Tom Gonder was applauded for treating patients with respect and compassion. Pictured: bottom right: Chronic pain specialist Dr. Richard Henry was described as a physician who goes the extra distance for his patients. Credit M. Manor/KHSC

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