Dr. Peter Johnston, who in October of last year stepped away from duties in the Emergency department at St. Marys Memorial Hospital after 38 years, has now announced his intention to retire from practicing medicine.
Johnston’s patients were advised through a letter last week that they can automatically be transferred to the practice of newly-arrived physician Dr. Tamara Foster.
“My retirement date is May 29, 2015,” the letter explains. “By good fortune, there is a doctor coming to take over my practice . . . Please call the (St. Marys Medical Clinic) office at 519-284-3450 to arrange a meet-and-greet appointment with Dr. Foster.”
Johnston’s letter includes a brief and characteristically colourful chronicling of his time at St. Marys Memorial and the St. Marys Medical Clinic — now officially referred to as the Happy Valley Family Health Team.
“Forty years ago I arrived in St. Marys to do the summer locum for July and August. I never left,” the letter states. “My good fortune was to have stumbled upon one of the most progressive rural partnerships in the country.”
Calling his years practicing family medicine “a large, somewhat vicarious picture window on birth, life and death,” Johnston adds that “I would like to thank my patients for 40 years of that opportunity and my staff for 40 years of understanding.”
One of Johnston’s favourite stories to patients involved his recollection of his parents’ reaction when they learned he had decided to pursue a career in medicine. They supposedly suggested that medicine could get in the way of their son’s stand-up comedy aspirations. But Johnston would conclude the story by noting he had continued his stand-up career nonetheless — not necessarily on stage, but with his patients.
Dr. Foster will begin seeing patients as part of her new practice in July. “The other physicians in the practice will be helping take care of my patients during this transition period,” Johnston’s letter explains.