Many doctors call Rossland home

The great outdoors may attract a lot of tourists to Rossland, but it is attracting something else – doctors.

The great outdoors may attract a lot of tourists to Rossland, but it is attracting something else – doctors.

Rossland home builder and chamber director Cezary Ksiazek did some research and thinks there are more doctors per capita in Rossland than any other city in Canada.

“I looked at the number of doctors from (Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital) and found 57 of them with the 362 prefix on their home phone numbers,” he said.

He and his wife, internist Danuta Ksiazek emigrated from Poland 10 years ago. She was certified in the U.S.; did her residency and fellowship in Bethlehem, N.J. flew to Vancouver for an interview in Maple Ridge, and wound up in Rossland because of the sunshine.

“We were staying in a hotel and it was always raining,” he said. “Then one beautiful sunny day, I saw all these people sitting outside in the parking lot. I asked why they were outside and they said they were so happy to have a sunny day. I asked how many days in a year it rains and they said 300. So I asked where to go in B.C. for good weather and they said Kootenays.”

Ksiazek couldn’t find a town called Kootenay on a map, but subsequent googling led him to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, where it was noted they were looking for an internist.

“So we came for an interview and met Dr. Wagner, the cardiologist. My wife was interested in cardiology and he was retiring.”

Dr. Ralph Behrens invited them to stay in his home. They had dinner at the former Olive Oyl’s restaurant, hiked in the mountains, met tons of nice people and decided Rossland was it. They’ve been here ever since.

Dr. Jane Grey and her husband, orthopedic surgeon Rob Grey, came from England in 1981, urged on by the late Dr. Roger Crisfield.

“He and Rob trained together in England,” she said. “Roger was a big influence and guided Rob into orthopedics. He got fed up with the wages in England and decided to immigrate to Canada.”

They lost contact with each other for some time, other than the occasional Christmas card. Then one day, an invitation was presented.

“He called and asked if we’d like to come for a ski holiday. We were going to go to France but a couple of the children got chicken pox.”

Having missed their usual holiday, the Grey’s took Crisfield up on his offer.

“Rob was wowed by the skiing and there were a lot of ex-pat Brits.”

After three “fabulous weeks in Canada,” the family proceeded with immigration plans, took required examinations and settled in Rossland.

“We looked around at other communities but Roger tried to keep all his friends close,” she said. “We were in love with the town, the people, the whole area.”

Dr. Brian O’Flanagan is another doctor who came for the lifestyle and never left. He and his wife immigrated originally from Ireland and came to Rossland from Vancouver in 1972.

“I came for the opportunity to learn how to ski,” he said. “At the time, it was like it is today. Every community was desperate (for doctors).”

What he found in Rossland was a diversity of people and friendships.

Retired for nine years now, O’Flanagan is active in Rossland Rotary and still does locums.

“We’ll stay as long as I can enjoy winter,” he said.

KBRH chief of staff Trudi Toews agreed that Rossland likely has more doctors per capita but that only means, “More doctors LIVE here, not work here.”

Toews came to Rossland to ski “for one year.

“I’ve now been here for 37 years.

“I think they come because of the lifestyle and job opportunities. With Trail being a regional site, family practices, obstetrics – it gives a good balance.”

She also noted that doctors in this area have more colleague support compared to small towns with only three doctors.

“So if one is away, the others aren’t burning out. There is enough depth to the physician pool.”

She is also optimistic that Trail, being selected as an outreach hospital for the UBC medical program, means more young physicians will be exposed to the area and may choose to come back here.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Iain Reid, who hails from New Zealand, says Rossland wouldn’t have so many doctors in residence and KBRH wouldn’t have the number of specialists and family doctors if it wasn’t for efforts of Dr. Ken LeRose and the former building and maintenance supervisors at the hospital.

“He had the foresight 15 or 20 years ago, seeing the value in having a regional hospital with specialists. If a kidney is damaged, you need a nephrologist; if it’s the bladder, you need a urologist, if it’s the hip, you need an orthopedic surgeon; and an anesthesiologist – so they all become a team. They don’t have that in Nelson.

Ron Parisotto and other building managers made sure the hospital was kept in tip-top shape.

“The (medical) community is phenomenal. The other significant factor is the hospital foundation which has kept the hospital so well supplied with equipment.

“The people of Trail made it the centre it is today.”

Reid and his wife, general practitioner Susan Benzer, settled in Rossland in 1995.

“I initially came to Canada to ski and met Susan while here,” he said. “We traveled back and forth to the area to visit her family.”

(Benzer is the daughter of Montrose’s former mayor, Art Benzer.)

When the couple decided to move here permanently they picked Rossland over other communities in the area “because of the skiing and recreation. It’s beautiful up here above the clouds.”


Just Posted

‘If we do nothing, the herd will certainly be extirpated’: Caribou maternity pen proposed in Nakusp

The Arrow Lakes Caribou Society is waiting for a response from the province

Kalesnikoff CFO recognized as lumber industry leader

Krystle Seed recognized as one of the top ten people under 40 in the lumber industry.

Cops make fentanyl bust in Castlegar

Over 280 pills among drugs seized

Rossland introduces new traffic bylaw

Right now it costs more money to write a ticket than the city gets from the fine, says a councillor

Federal candidates debate environmental issues in Castlegar

Few sparks and much agreement between candidates that action is needed

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

PHOTOS: Kipchoge becomes first runner to dip under 2 hours for marathon

Olympic champion and world record holder from Kenya clocks 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds

Most Read