Bob Stone: A friend and mentor returns for homecoming 2014
I always look forward to homecoming weekend, and the opportunity to meet alumni and hear their stories. At this year’s homecoming, we hosted Faculty of Health Sciences alumni going all the way back to 1954!
It was a special joy this year to be welcoming one of my favourite teachers, Dr. Robert Stone, who has been a friend and mentor for many years. When Bob and his wife Mary came back to Kingston this weekend, Cheryl and I had the chance to spend some time with them, and attend the Tricolour Guard dinner together.
Bob gave me my first job as an intern at Mount Sinai Hospital in 1977, and ten years later my first academic job at the Toronto Western Hospital. Bob was a great surgeon and a wonderful teacher. To be sure, he taught me how to take out a colon, to diagnose a perforated ulcer and treat septic shock. But these were secondary lessons. He also taught me how to dream.
As his young partner of a few months, he came to me one day in July 1987, and in his gruff but friendly manner said, “Reznick, you’re taking the month of December off; I’ll take care of your patients”. I looked at him as if he was from Mars. I had just started up my practice, I argued, and I could barely afford to take a month off. Besides, what on God’s earth would I do for a month? His answer was profound in its simplicity. “You need to go to the library, spend a month collecting your thoughts, dream the big dream, and write it down”.
Well, as flabbergasted as I was, I did exactly that. I took the month off and wrote a document about the creation of a center for medical education. That document became the focus of my academic life for the next ten years. That spark, which came from a crazy surgeon who dared to challenge his junior partner, changed my life.
Congratulations to Bob and fellow Meds ’64 classmates on your induction to the Tricolour Guard, and thank you for the lives that you have changed along the way.
Tell me about the teacher or mentor who changed your life by commenting on the blog, or better yet, please drop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.