Dr Paul Sabiston died on 8 November 2022, with the help of medical assistance in dying, after 7 years of living with the effects of bladder cancer and its treatment. He was at home with his family, pragmatic to the end.
Paul graduated from the University of Ottawa medical school in 1979 and started his residency in orthopaedics at Vancouver General Hospital that year, where we were colleagues. He was not only a gifted student, but also an amazing athlete, having swum for UBC (national team trials), and a bicycle racer, completing numerous Gastown Grands Prix.
He told me he couldn’t run but, despite this modesty, was first out of the water in both the Vancouver and Victoria triathlons, finishing in the top four in each race.
Following residency Paul spent a year in Calgary doing research and knee surgery, with a faculty appointment waiting for him at UBC. Luckily I was able to convince him to come to Lions Gate Hospital, where he formed the nucleus of a strong orthopaedics team, which continues to be a centre of excellence well after his retirement in 2014.
Paul worked hard and was loved by his patients, colleagues, and nurses alike. He kept a good work-life balance, spending much of his spare time foil-kiting in the summer and snowboarding and skiing in the winter. He was very skilled at all these activities. On one occasion, he and an equally talented friend paddled a twin surf kayak around all the Bowron Lakes between sunrise and sunset. He didn’t recommend this activity to me, as his subsequent wrist tendonitis slowed down his surgery for the next week!
We have lost a talented knee surgeon and a good friend to all.
—Denis Morris, MD, FRCSC
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