The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest Report



Recruitment of Dr. Kim Duncan

While Collins had always envisioned surgery as a major component in the pediatric cardiac program at the HSC, he had not anticipated the problems experienced with de la Rocha. However, with Barwinsky's support, he developed a plan for submission to the MHSC. In a document dated March 20, 1984, Collins set out his plan for the reintroduction of pediatric cardiac surgery in Winnipeg (Exhibit 17, Document 4). The plan, of necessity, included the hiring of a new surgeon.

While Barwinsky provided surgical services for the pediatric cardiac program during the initial period of the program's reintroduction, it was never intended that he would be the surgeon on a permanent basis. As the head of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery for the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine, Barwinsky took on the formal responsibility for hiring the new surgeon. According to Collins, it took the HSC eighteen months to find a suitable surgical candidate who was willing to come to Winnipeg. The choice was Dr. Kim Duncan, a young Canadian doctor (and the son of a doctor well known to Collins), who was still in training.

In the fall of 1985, Barwinsky met with Duncan in London, England, where Duncan was studying. Collins was intimately involved in the recruiting process; he was consulted on each applicant and held an informal veto over the appointment. The decision to appoint Duncan to the position of pediatric cardiac surgeon at the HSC was made in the fall of 1985. Duncan took up his duties in the summer of 1986.

Duncan had undertaken his medical training at the University of Alberta, where he graduated with his medical degree in 1976. He interned in Ottawa and did his residency in general surgery at the University of Alberta from 1977 to 1982. From 1983 to 1985 he did a residency in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at the University of Alberta Hospital and at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (both in Edmonton). He was the Chief Resident at the latter hospital for six months. He was the senior registrar at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, England for one year during that time as well. (A senior registrar at an English hospital is equivalent in Canada to a Fellow-a doctor who is past the residency stage of training but does not yet have a staff appointment and is undergoing more training.) From July 1985 to July 1986, he was a clinical assistant professor of cardiovascular surgery at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.

When Duncan came to Winnipeg, he was appointed the director of surgery at the VCHC. Collins testified that, by appointing his staff as directors of one sort or another, he was able to pay them more.

Collins's plan for the Variety Children's Heart Centre called for the appointment of three cardiologists. By 1986, Dr. Robert Vincent, Dr. Andrew Pelech and Dr. Niels Giddins had been appointed to the cardiology staff of the centre. Vincent subsequently left to practise in Toronto and was replaced by Dr. Brian McCrindle.



Current Home - Table of Contents - Chapter 5 - Recruitment of Dr. Kim Duncan
Next The matrix concept
Previous Collins and de la Rocha
Section 1 Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Issues
  Chapter 2 - Pediatric Cardiac Issues
  Chapter 3 - The Diagnosis of Pediatric Heart Defects and their Surgical Treatment
  Chapter 4 - The Health Sciences Centre
Section 2 Chapter 5 - Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Winnipeg 1950-1993
  Chapter 6 - The Restart of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in 1994
January 1, 1994 to May 17, 1994
  Chapter 7 - The Slowdown
May 17 to September 1994
  Chapter 8 - Events Leading to the Suspension of the Program
September 7, 1994 to December 23, 1994
  Chapter 9 - 1995 - The Aftermath of the Shutdown
January to March, 1995
Section 3 Chapter 10 - Findings and Recommendations
Appendix 1 - Glossary of terms used in this report
Appendix 2 - Parties to the Proceedings and counsel
Appendix 3 - List of witnesses and dates of testimony
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