This year, one of the longest-serving members of this region’s health care system is hanging up his white coat.
Dr. Maurice Lamarche has been practicing medicine for 47 years, 45 of those in the Pontiac. He said that when he first arrived in the region, he figured he would only stay for five years or so.
Originally from Hawkesbury, Larmarche did his studies at the University of Ottawa. He said that his brother-in-law, Dr. Louis Morrissette and his wife Dr. Margo Morrissette worked in the area around the time he graduated and invited him to practice in the area. He shared an office with them in the shopping plaza in downtown Shawville, and worked in the emergency department at the Pontiac Hospital.
He said that he’s worked through many changes at the hospital, be it procedures, specialized staff or additions to the facility itself. The addition of the CT scan machine at the hospital in the early 2000s was a great improvement to their diagnostic capabilities according to Dr. Lamarche. The machine was purchased through a dedicated community fundraising campaign and a sizable donation from the Smurfit-Stone Corporation, who owned the mill in Portage-du-Fort at the time.
He said that he really enjoyed the problem-solving aspects of medicine, as well as the variety of work as a general practitioner. He said he was proud of the teaching opportunities he had in the area, as well as his involvement in the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, which was founded by some of Dr. Lamarche’s colleagues in Shawville and is still based in the area.
When asked what advice he would give to a young doctor starting out in the area, Dr. Lamarche gave the same advice he was given by a superior when he first arrived in town: don’t burn yourself out.
The full interview with Dr. Lamarche is available here.