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Meet Dr. Calvin Lo: Caring for the youngest patients of the province

As a pediatric anesthesiologist, Dr. Calvin Lo helps provide comfort and care for the province’s youngest patients undergoing medical procedures at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

Last July, Dr. Lo returned from a year-long fellowship at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. Here, he pursued training in the subspecialty of pediatric anesthesia and brought these skills back to Saskatchewan to provide high-quality care for our province’s kids.

Thanks to the generosity of Saskatchewan donors, Dr. Lo was the recipient of pediatric fellowship funding made possible through the support of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“This fellowship lets me incorporate pediatric anesthesia into my practice and work alongside the rest of the pediatric anesthesia group to further improve perioperative pain management and intraoperative care to the children of the province,” Dr. Lo said.

Dr. Lo completed his residency at the University of Saskatchewan and following his fellowship last summer, he joined the team of 10 other pediatric anesthesiologists at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital. During his fellowship in Toronto, Dr. Lo trained under some of Canada’s best pediatric anesthesiologists and was exposed to the country’s most challenging pediatric surgical cases, including complex cardiac cases and liver transplants.

Dr. Lo expects he will provide anesthesia for approximately 400 to 500 pediatric patients each year. This includes children in the operating room undergoing surgery, peripheral operating room theatres such as dental clinics providing care to northern Indigenous populations, as well as children undergoing sedation for essential procedures such as radiation therapy for cancer or spinal injections for neuromuscular diseases.

Dr. Lo said pediatric anesthesia is unique in that it requires a level of comfort in treating a wide range of patients from babies to teenagers and everyone in between. There are also many diseases and conditions unique to pediatric patients that aren’t seen in adults.

There were 3,318 pediatric surgical cases at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital from October 2019 to September 2020. Of that, 51 per cent of patients came from outside of Saskatoon. The ground floor of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital is home to Saskatchewan’s first dedicated pediatric surgery suites, with integrated induction rooms. This allows parents to be with their child while anesthesia is administered.

Dr. Lo noted the large-sized operating rooms in the new provincial children’s hospital make work much easier. He also said that having surgical patients admitted to their own private room and being able to recover from anesthesia in the same room is not only convenient, but also provides a quiet and private setting for pre-anesthesia discussions, which are often a sensitive time for anxious kids getting ready for surgery.

“Beyond being able to work in such excellent facilities, having a group of specialized nurses, anesthesia assistants, and other health care providers to work alongside is truly a pleasure. Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital has created a home for those of us specializing in pediatric care and allows us to draw upon each other’s strengths and to synergize to provide the best care possible,” Dr. Lo said.

Aside from clinical experience during his fellowship, Dr. Lo also worked on two manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, both of which have been accepted for publication. He also participated in mentorship and teaching as a fellow and was awarded the annual Fellows Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Clinical Teaching.

Dr. Lo plans to use his fellowship experience to help improve treatment pathways for pain management in pediatric patients following surgery. He is also interested in pursuing quality improvement research to improve the surgical handover process of critically ill children in the NICU and the PICU.

“Fellowships are excellent educational opportunities which allow doctors to gain further specialized training through clinical experience and research. It is vital that we support our country’s most promising physicians and we are proud to support the future leaders of maternal and children’s health care through fellowship opportunities in Saskatchewan,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “We rely on our incredibly generous donors to help keep our provincial hospital at the cutting-edge in terms of patient care and research, and fellowships are a great way of doing that.”

To help support the best and brightest medical professionals like Dr. Lo, please donate to Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation today.

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