In a palliative care unit in Nepal, Nanaimo physician Dr. Robin Love came across a vomiting patient who couldn’t afford medication to stop the nausea. The cost was three cents.
“I thought … that guy is going to vomit until he dies because his family doesn’t have three cents,” said Love. “I was just haunted by that story … and just felt we had to do something.”
Love established a partnership between the Nanaimo Community Hospice and the palliative care unit at Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital in Nepal to not only teach and mentor medical staff, but also to pay for patients’ pain medication and nurse salaries. The program is just one reason why Love has been awarded by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.
The doctor received one of four Awards of Excellence in Medical Practice on May 28, which aim to recognize physicians who have shown dedication and service to their communities. They are nominated by their peers.
Love said he was honoured to be recognized.
“I practise as absolutely best I can and I work as hard as I can and try to work to the highest level of integrity and compassion as I can and to have that recognized by my peers is quite special to me,” Love said.
The Nanaimo physician, who started practising medicine in the Harbour City 26 years ago, has become known for his advocacy of palliative care.
He was first introduced to the field in medical school and later studied with Canada’s foremost expert.
When he moved to the city he said there wasn’t anyone here with expertise around end-of-life care and pain management and decided to take it on, providing consulting service and establishing an in-patient palliative care program at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
Under his leadership the unit has become a 12-bed program, with in-patient and outpatient consulting, and community house-call services.
He is also a clinical assistant professor at the University of B.C. and on the faculty of the University of Victoria Island Medical Program.