Dr. Neville Poy put the scalpel down 16 years ago but remains on the cutting edge of giving back to the community.
Befittingly, the Order of Canada recipient is also the first honoree of The Scarborough Hospital Lifetime Achievement Award which was celebrated at a gala banquet on Nov. 10 at the Sheraton Centre.
“I was absolutely thrilled to be told and absolutely surprised,” he laughed. “I’d retired 16 years ago. It really was quite something when they called me.”
The gala raised $950,000 for The Scarborough Hospital’s Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) program which is striving to build a Community Hub to provide comprehensive care delivery and management of kidney-related diseases. Click here to watch a video about patients at TSH who are receiving care for CKD.
It’s all the more critically needed in The Scarborough Hospital catchment area because the populations of Blacks, Asian and South East Asians are genetically and culturally prone to chronic kidney diseases triggered by hypertension and diabetes.
“He was an obvious choice because he accomplished so much at The Scarborough Hospital. Their family is so well known and respected in the community,” said Dr. Robert Ting, a nephrologist and president of the Medical Staff Association driving the fundraising. “He also has such a strong connection to the renal program and helped build the Burn Unit.”
Though Dr. Poy, 77, spent 30 years at The Scarborough Hospital in plastic reconstructive surgery and helped pioneer the development of the world class Burn Unit during his 15 years as the first director, kidney disease is something which cuts close to his heart.
“One of my three sons – he’s 43 now – contracted Scarlet Fever during a trip back to China when he was a boy and lost both kidneys as a result,” he said. “He’s been through dialysis most of his life and now a third kidney transplant — from his mother (Senator Dr. Vivienne Poy) – is totally successful, functioning as though it were his own kidney!”
Dr. Poy’s journey to Canada began in 1942 when his family – including his sister, Adrienne Clarkson, who went on to become Governor General– escaped from Japanese held Hong Kong.
After attending McGill University, he arrived at The Scarborough Hospital in 1967 and quickly established a reputation as a dedicated, caring physician.
“I think I was the first Chinese specialist there,” he said. “There was just myself and Dr. Lloyd Carlsen as full time attending physicians and I remember in one 36-hour stretch, I performed 32 major and minor operations.”
Over the years, he was president of the hospital’s Medical Society and of the Ontario Medical Association Section on Plastic Surgery while also serving on The Scarborough Hospital’s Board of Governors, playing a significant role in fundraising for Capital Campaigns.
He also became one of the leading authorities on hand reconstructive surgery and honoured for with the Hospital with the Award of Excellence in the Medical Community in Recognition of your Outstanding Contributions to Scarborough Hospital in 1997.
The Burn Unit he created at The Scarborough Hospital was the first in Canada and became the hub for serious burn victims across southern Ontario.
Today, Dr. Poy stays active as a professional fine art photographer, and as a force for change and leadership. He also finds time to indulge in his passion as an accordion and piano player while “on call” as Presiding Officer for Citizenship and Immigration’s Citizenship Swearing-in Ceremonies for new Canadians.