A Saskatchewan-born surgeon who came from humble beginnings growing up on a farm in Eston is reflecting on a medical career in Montreal that has brought him a lot of personal success and friendships with hockey legends.
Doctor David Mulder received a standing ovation by the crowd at Montreal’s Bell Centre Saturday night as he dropped the puck before the Canadiens and Maple Leafs game.
The ceremony capped off quite the week for chief doctor of the Canadiens hockey club, who has been sewing players up and treating sprains since arriving in Montreal from Saskatchewan in 1963.
“My resident who I work with now is a young lady. She told me during the Stanley Cup playoffs this year in May that I had a dream job. I could operate on thoracic surgery in the daytime and Montreal Canadiens at night. She was absolutely right,” adding his favourite player was the late Jean Béliveau.
When Mulder wasn’t stitching up hockey players, he was working at Montreal General Hospital (MGH) as well as teaching and conducting research at McGill University.
On Tuesday the McGill University Health Centre renamed its trauma centre at the MGH the Dr. David S. Mulder Trauma Centre. Mulder was a driving force behind restructuring trauma care in Quebec.
In the late 1980s half of all trauma patients brought to hospitals in Quebec did not survive. Mulder set out to change that by overhauling the system using a successful model in the U.S.
“Over the next five years the mortality rate fell from 50 per cent to 10 or 12 per cent. Today its below eight per cent. We benchmark with the very best level one trauma centres,” Mulder said.
“To see it recognized that way was well, as I said, I was overwhelmed, humbled and honoured.”
Mulder would like to see more reforms made in trauma care, and has been a the forefront for the last few years trying to establish a helicopter ambulance system in the province. He said it was always his intention to return to Saskatchewan, but he still makes the trip back to Eston once a year to visit family.
“We kept a farm. I was out in Eston two or three weeks ago and had a ride on a combine just for old time sake.”