A Doctor's Passion

Dr. Ryan McColl is a passionate man. He’s passionate about his family, about sports, but his patients remain his biggest passion.

When he’s not busy working as the departmental head of general surgery at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC), Ryan can typically be found enjoying down time with his wife and their three boys and two girls.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Ryan attended medical school in his hometown from 2002-2006. He travelled south to Calgary for his general surgery residency training from 2006-2011. He spent two electives as a resident at RDRHC before heading south again – this time to Lethbridge, where he completed an additional elective.

“I wasn’t sure if Lethbridge was a great fit for me, long-term,” he recalled. “I spoke with Red Deer and they were interested in recruiting. They really wanted someone with additional training in colorectal surgery, so I agreed to try to set that up.”

After working in Red Deer for a year-and-a-half, Ryan was able to secure additional training at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. After a one-year fellowship at St. Paul’s, Ryan returned to Red Deer where he set up his colorectal surgery practice in August 2015.

Out west, Ryan was first introduced to a piece of equipment called an Endomotion Arm. The flexible arm provides stable positioning for vital surgical instruments required for minimally-invasive surgery. It was an invaluable piece of equipment he was looking for to complement the existing transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) system.

“We’re trying to remove advanced polyps, or early rectal cancers, through the rectum without making any skin incisions,” he explained. “The existing arm that we have – it just doesn’t allow you the visualization that you need, (or) the range of motion that you need to do more complex procedures.”

Ryan made it his mission to find some way to purchase an arm for RDRHC.

“Through that experience (at St. Paul’s) I really learned how invaluable your hospital foundation is to work with the doctors to try and purchase equipment that just otherwise wouldn’t be possible through regular government funding.”

Sharon Bilanski, Director of Surgical Services for Central Zone, and Maureen Whitworth, Manager of the Operating Room, helped Ryan connect with the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation to find a way to purchase the equipment. In fall 2018, the Foundation launched an emergency appeal to fund the purchase.

“I’ve had nothing but a great experience working with the Foundation to raise the funds,” Ryan said. “They work very hard to try different sources of funding to be able to purchase it.”

Thanks to your generous donations, the Endomotion Arm will soon make its debut in our OR. It will mean less travel for the patient, minimally-invasive procedures, faster operating room times, safer surgeries, and a quicker recovery time.

“I don’t know how I can really express my gratitude. I don’t think the donors realize how much I appreciate it, the difference it’s going to have, and the impact it’s going to have on the patients.”

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