Dr. Emilie Joos is passionate about saving lives. Working as a trauma surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital — one of only two accredited Level 1 Trauma Centres in BC — Dr. Joos sees some of the most devastating injuries in the province, and fixes them. To Dr. Joos, the immediate impact she can have on someone’s life is incredibly meaningful and inspires her to come to work every day.
Let’s meet her.
Where did you grow up?
In Montreal, Quebec.
How long have you worked at VGH?
For nearly five years.
Why are you so passionate about working in the Trauma Unit at VGH?
Trauma has always been a natural choice for me. I love the definitive nature of it, the immediate decision-making process that leads to immediate results. Our team can make a huge difference in the outcome of severely injured patients like Jon, and restore their quality of life. It is empowering to work with dedicated individuals who all share the same values and have the same goal. At VGH, the trauma team is my family.
How do you spend your downtime?
I ski in the winter and rock climb in the summer — between my pregnancies! We also love camping and doing road trips with the family. And, for weekend retreats, we are building a tiny house on Gambier Island.
What do you like most about your job?
The teamwork and the unpredictability.
What first interested you in Trauma care?
As a medical student, I witnessed a decompressive laparotomy for a patient who had persistently increased intracranial pressure. This was done by the trauma senior resident, at the bedside, in the ICU. The immediate effect of this procedure blew me away. I decided then I wanted to do something that could directly impact patients’ lives.
Tell us one thing that we might be surprised to find out about you?
I still occasionally suffer from impostor syndrome.
What is the one of the most interesting experiences of your career?
Deploying to work as a doctor in the Congo and Central African Republic. Working in challenging environments forces me to constantly adapt my human and technical skills, takes me outside of my comfort zone and makes me a better doctor. It is an honour for me to be able to do this kind of work.
What are three things you always have in your fridge?
Cholula sauce, Greek yogurt and cilantro.
Who or what inspires you?
People who fight for what they believe in, are not afraid to speak their minds and challenge the status quo. People such as James Orbinski, Joanne Liu, Barack Obama, Jacinda Ardern and my mentor, Morad Hameed.
Dr. Joos was featured in the July issue of Impact. Read more stories of the impact your donations make possible.