Remembering famend neurologist Stephen McKenzie

As one of many founding members of Trillium Well being Companions’ neurology division within the early Eighties, Dr. Stephen McKenzie put within the hours, discovering himself on name each second day after one of many different medical doctors left. “It was an exhausting time,” says his spouse, Johanna McKenzie. The following 4 many years provided little reprieve; along with his job as senior neurologist at Trillium, Stephen was a long-time professor on the College of Toronto and a employees doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital.

“Stephen was an excellent basic neurologist,” says Dr. Daniel Selchen, a colleague of 40 years, “educated, empathetic and beneficiant along with his time. He was all the time curious and desirous to develop his data, and over the course of his profession, fairly remarkably labored in three totally different sub-specialty areas: first, neuro-oncology at Toronto Western; then headache, the place he was acknowledged as a Canadian professional; and later a number of sclerosis, each by his workplace and the clinic at St. Michael’s.

“I have no idea of another neighborhood basic neurologists who developed experience in so many fields.”

Born in Toronto to engineer Gordon McKenzie and his spouse Norma, Stephen Wayne McKenzie and his sister, Kim, spent their summers at his dad and mom’ rustic cottage on a 120-acre lot in Bracebridge, the place the hockey participant additionally loved canoeing, crusing and fishing.

He skipped two grades earlier than his household moved from Toronto to Ottawa, the place he competed in observe and subject at Fisher Park Excessive College, wrote poetry and co-founded a author’s workshop, says buddy Norman Seashore. Towards the tip of highschool, Stephen determined to review drugs, Seashore says, and following commencement in 1971, went on to earn an honours diploma in biology from the College of Ottawa. On the College of Ottawa’s medical college, the place he graduated in 1977, he earned a silver medal for the second-highest class standing and a gold medal for the very best standing in fourth yr of drugs.

Stephen returned to his hometown to finish residencies in inside drugs at Sunnybrook Hospital in 1979 and neurology on the College of Toronto in 1982. As part of the residency program, he rotated by the Wellesley Hospital, Toronto Common and Toronto Western.

On the Mississauga Hospital — now Trillium Well being Companions — Stephen in 1983 was considered one of three employees neurologists. That quantity would drop inside the yr, when one of many different neurologists left, says Johanna. “Stephen all the time made himself out there to his sufferers, (guaranteeing) they bought the care they wanted at once.”

He and Selchen, who joined Stephen on the neurology crew, had places of work in the identical constructing reverse the hospital. “We had been very ‘inexperienced,’ as our residency coaching in these days didn’t actually embody a lot outpatient coaching,” says Selchen. “We knew what to do with sick sufferers within the hospital, however the vagaries of typical outpatient neurology had been new to us.” In order that they met virtually on daily basis, generally greater than as soon as, to share instances and experiences in an effort to enhance the standard of affected person care.

A passionate and devoted educator and mentor, Stephen joined the college of drugs on the College of Toronto as a neurology lecturer in 1987, finally turning into an assistant professor. “Stephen liked the medical subject and to share his data,” says Johanna. “He needed to provide his college students the identical optimistic expertise he had. He went out of his strategy to discover attention-grabbing instances and articles. This was his manner of giving again to the medical neighborhood and guaranteeing that his data and legacy can be handed on all through the generations.”

Acknowledged as a pacesetter within the subject of a number of sclerosis, Stephen joined the employees of the MS clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital in January 2020 on a part-time foundation whereas sustaining his observe in Mississauga.

All through his profession, he authored and co-authored quite a few publications on interstitial brachytherapy (radioactive sources positioned instantly into the tissue) to deal with varied situations, and was a member of the Canadian Congress of Neurological Sciences, the Canadian Society of Scientific Neurophysiologists and lots of different organizations.

He was additionally a devoted household man. Throughout his internship at Sunnybrook, nurse Johanna Elbers met him over a affected person whereas performing a lumbar puncture. “Our palms touched,” Johanna says, “and the connection was instantaneous.” The couple married in 1981 and had two kids, Laura and Cameron.

“My dad liked sharing his love of science with us,” says Laura McKenzie. “When useless fish would wash alongside shore on the Credit score River, my dad would ​​dissect the fish and educate us the anatomy.”

Laura and her dad shared a love of animals. “He was all the time capable of persuade my mother to permit me to get one other pet,” says Laura. “We had the whole lot: horses, canine, birds, rabbits, fish, gerbils, hamsters and even rats. My dad liked all of them, even the rats.” After his daughter started competing as an equestrian, Stephen began taking using classes.

For son Cameron McKenzie, a aggressive mountain-bike racer, Stephen took up biking in order that they might prepare collectively. “He was my greatest fan and finest supporter at races,” Cameron says.

Later, Stephen would bike from Mississauga to Guelph and Hamilton to go to his grownup kids. He nurtured his love of the water as a member of the Humber Bay Crusing Membership and Port Credit score Yacht Membership.

When he wasn’t on the transfer, the lifelong fan of classical and jazz (which he typically cranked within the automobile) “had his nostril in a ebook,” says Johanna. “Stephen learn medical journals in his downtime. It didn’t matter if we had been on trip or after an extended day of labor, he’d fortunately sit and browse the most recent analysis in his subject and others.”

For Stephen, neurology was greater than only a profession. “It was his life,” Cameron says. “He slept, breathed, and dreamed drugs.”



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