From infants to adults, retired Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Ross Currie devoted his career to supporting the delivery of health care at Burnaby Hospital. Always willing to lend a hand, Dr. Currie has contributed half a century to spreading positivity, compassion and kindness.
When Dr. Currie joined the team at Burnaby Hospital in 1969, he was one of two orthopedic surgeons supporting a rapidly growing hospital and community.
“In those early days at Burnaby Hospital, we were a small but mighty team with only three operating rooms,” remarks Dr. Currie. “This meant a lot of late nights and new opportunities to be on the ground floor in our quickly expanding community hospital.”
A team player with a heart for service, Dr. Currie was quick to jump in wherever needed. Regarded as a steadfast, reliable team member, colleagues would often say, ‘Let’s ask Ross,’ knowing he would respond to any new challenge with integrity and compassion.
Emerging out of his routine pediatrics rounds, an opportunity arose to create a comprehensive new pediatric program that sought to identify hip dysplasia in newborn infants. Dr. Currie helped to spearhead the new initiative, the first of its kind at Burnaby Hospital, playing a pivotal role in the early development of many babies in Burnaby.
“This program was beginning to develop in all hospitals as we began to learn more about hip dysplasia in infants and children,” says Dr. Currie. “I would start every day in the nursery examining infants for looseness in their hips. Any identified infants would begin corrective measures to reduce any adverse side effects.”
Before beginning his influential, 50-year-long career as a surgeon, Dr. Currie trained for a year at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, England. During this time, he learned how to perform a new procedure in orthopedics, total hip and knee replacements.
Using the training he received abroad and at Vancouver General Hospital, Dr. Currie became the first surgeon at Burnaby Hospital to complete a full knee replacement.
“Somebody had to be first, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” says Dr. Currie.
While orthopedics has evolved considerably over the years, Dr. Currie recalls the early days when medical instruments included hand tools like hammers, chisels and handsaws.
“I was a bit of a want-to-be carpenter. I already had a lot of experience with woodworking and tools, and I loved working with my hands. I suppose it felt like a natural next step to pursue a career as an orthopedic surgeon,” says Dr. Currie.
“Dad’s humble and kind demeanour has been a constant thread throughout his half a century of going above and beyond the call of duty,” says Dr. Currie’s daughter, Carolyn Drew.
“When colleagues or patients of his find out that I’m Ross Currie’s daughter, they always share how kind he was. He truly made a positive impact on those around him and exemplified the Fraser Health values of respect, caring and trust in his care and delivery of health care at Burnaby Hospital,” reflects Carolyn.
Carolyn recalls her childhood, witnessing her father coming home for a quick meal or a shower and then swiftly heading back to the hospital if the pager or phone rang.
“He was always willing to swap emergency on-call shifts or take on extra patient rounds because he loved and cared so deeply about his work,” says Carolyn. “He was very dedicated, and people knew they could count on him.”
“It was a pleasure working alongside Dr. Currie throughout his years as a surgeon at Burnaby Hospital,” shares Dr. Ralph Belle, vice president, Medicine. “His devotion, integrity and compassion to his colleagues, patients and families did not go unnoticed. His kindness will have a lasting impact on the hospital and community he served."
Looking back on his career, Dr. Currie reflects fondly on his days at Burnaby Hospital.
“Over the years, the community and hospital were very good to me. I always found it rewarding to straighten something that was crooked or fix something broken. It’s gratifying knowing I could ease a patient’s pain or give them the gift of mobility. It’s been a fun career, and I very much enjoyed my time working at Burnaby Hospital,” says Dr. Currie.
Dr. Ross Currie is a recipient of this year's Above and Beyond Fraser Health Hero Award.