New doctor sets up shop at clinic

The first of three new general practitioners coming to town started full-time at the Fort Frances Clinic last week.
Dr. Pierre Mikhail wrapped up his residence in family medicine at Queen’s University in 1996. But before settling down permanently somewhere, he and his wife, Catherine, wanted to experience life up north.
“We had this dream of going to the Yukon for a year,” noted Dr. Mikhail, who has been to the Yukon six times since 1990. “[But] we were pretty sure it wouldn’t be a permanent thing.”
In the long-term, they wanted to be in a rural area in Ontario so they could be closer to their families in Toronto.
“We wanted the city to be a place to escape to, not escape from,” he explained, noting he and his wife both enjoyed the outdoors
So they decided to look at communities before their year up north. But rather than fly to Ontario rural communities after they arrived in the Yukon, the couple, along with their then two-month-old daughter, Hannah, opted to visit the different communities on the drive up.
Their plan was to wait until Christmas to make a decision. But Dr. Mikhail said their decision to settle in Fort Frances was made by the end of July.
“When we got here, we really loved it,” he said, adding they wanted to live in a small town near the lake.
He noted the community welcomed his family, and that his wife had a chance to meet with the local school board about a possible job teaching science at the high school.
“That was a big part of the equation,” Dr. Mikhail stressed, saying they wanted to be in an area where they both could pursue their careers.
He also said the group practice gave some relief from the on-call work. In the Yukon, he was on-call every second night in the community of 2,000.
And although his first day on the job (June 15) was a bit stressful learning the ins and outs of where everything was, Dr. Mikhail said he was settling in. And he’s already got a taste of something new–taking a swollen woodtick (a creature he’d never seen before) out of someone’s ear.
While he only signed a one-year contract here, Dr. Mikhail said he’s seeing this move as a long-term position.