Dr. Suru Chande says he is honoured to receive the Lifetime Membership Award from the Ontario Medical Association, but he’s also taking it all in stride.
“To be honest, I always thought if you worked at any institution long enough and behaved yourself, they’d give you an award,” he laughs. “But they assure me this is more than that.”
In fact, the honour recognizes Dr. Chande’s 40-plus year career at Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), his leading surgical role, teaching and mentoring expertise and philanthropic efforts.
In his nomination letter, Dr. Paul Coolican notes: “As a community general surgeon who has lived and worked in rural eastern Ontario for many years, Dr. Chande is an individual valued by his patients and medical colleagues alike.”
Dr. Chande graduated from the University of Birmingham and completed his training at the University of Ottawa.
He says he chose WDMH because he had heard good things about the community surgical centre.
“I thought it was a fairly easy drive from Ottawa, until I realized that it was winter for several months a year,” he smiles.
Eventually, his family moved to Morrisburg, closer to the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic where he was a senior partner.
Dr. Chande has performed literally thousands of surgical procedures at WDMH, with a special interest in surgery of the hand. He was also an early adopter of laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery, bringing the brand new technique to WDMH in the early 90s. He went on to train many other doctors, including colleagues at the larger Ottawa hospitals.
Dozens of learners are also grateful to Dr. Chande for his teaching skills. “He has taught surgical residents, family medicine residents, medical and nursing students – in short, anyone who wanted to learn,” says Dr. Coolican.
In addition, Dr. Chande remains a passionate supporter of WDMH and has helped raise thousands of dollars through events such as an annual golf tournament and several fundraising plays staged by local doctors.
“I cannot recall a community fundraising event for the hospital that Dr. Chande did not participate in or help to organize,” notes Dr. Coolican.
Provincially, Dr. Chande has served as a member of the General Surgery Executive at the OMA, championing a number of causes.
He was also one of the inaugural board members of the Ontario Association of General Surgeons.
Dr. Chande says he is grateful for many aspects of his career.
“What stands out is being in a community where you come in as a complete outsider and rely on local colleagues to support you; and then all of a sudden, the tables are turned and you become the insider and people come to you. It’s a great honour,” he said.