Dr. Paul Winston, consultant in neurorehabilitation at Victoria General Hospital, spoke about rehabilitation medicine and services available in Victoria.

Rob Simon introduced Dr. Paul Winston who graduated medical school from the University of Western Ontario, and completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at University of Toronto.  He now works as a consultant at Victoria General Hospital in the neurorehabilitation department with both in and out patient care. He performs electrodiagnostic testing as well as offers Musculoskelatal care. Rob and his wife Lori have a very personal connection to Dr. Winston, as he helped Lori in her recovery from a stroke.

Dr. Winston's first statement was - People want to walk.

He introduced us to the term "physiatry", which is the branch of medicine that looks at  the "functional capacity of the whole person within the disease, disorder or disability, focusing on the physical, emotional, social or occupational well-being".  

The field of rehab medicine developed during World Wars I and II, when many soldiers survived but were left with disabilities. Leaders in the field were Dr. Ludwin Gutman, who did leading research in spinal cord injury; and Dr. Terry Kavanagh from Toronto, who overturned conventional wisdom about treating heart attacks with bed rest, instead getting patients up and moving as soon as possible. 

Dr. Winston talked about his work week, which included hospital days as well as time in the rehab unit. Much of their work is done in teams of doctors, physio and occupational therapists, looking at the whole person. He said the hospital now includes specialists from the rehab unit as soon as possible after a traumatic injury. Working with the families is also important.

Dr. Winston outlined two cases where the rehab team had worked successfully. He talked about how they work with patients to set achievable goals.

And finally, in response to a question, Dr. Winston set out suggestions for "how not to need rehab medicine":

  • exercise regularly
  • pay attention to your posture when walking and make adjustments to keep good posture
  • try not to rely on too many painkillers
John Ratel thanked the speaker with a gift certificate from Operation Eyesight.