Dr. David Yap, Emergency Physician, Burnaby Hospital
How long have you been working in the Emergency Department?
I started working at Burnaby Hospital in 2003. Prior to that, I was working in Toronto and in Burnaby, going back and forth. But I’m originally from here—born and raised in the Lower Mainland. And my family is here so I eventually decided to come back, and I found Burnaby Hospital ‘home’.
Describe a typical day.
A typical day in the Emergency Room? Well, a typical day is not typical at all. There is no routine. You could come in and start your day, and it’ll look quite quiet and all of a sudden there could be five ambulances with patients with a variety of medical problems. So there really is no typical day and that’s what makes the ER interesting and challenging.
What kind of cases do you see?
We see everything. In the ER, we see everyone from newborns to 100-year old patients. We see people with medical issues and also psychiatric or emotional issues; people going through tough times in their lives. Since patients who visit the ER are usually in a heightened emotional state, worried about their own symptoms or their loved one’s, it’s important to address both the medical emergency issues and the patient’s concerns.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
In the ER, you get to see the changes that you implement and you feel intrinsically rewarded that you’re making a difference right there and then. The gratification of this work is the challenge and variety of the medical issues, and the knowing fact that you are making a difference in a patients’ life. A sincere thank you from a patient or family member makes my day.
Are there any moments that are ingrained in your memory?
Unfortunately, the cases that stick out in my memory are usually the ones that did not have a positive outcome and there isn’t anything more you can do to help. It is stressful at times knowing you are doing what you can but still the natural process of the disease or situation leads to unfortunate outcomes. Now there are numerous positive memories with patients in the ER but the ones that come to mind are the unfortunate ones. It is so very true that pain feels much worse than the positive feelings of gain.
What do you love most about working at Burnaby Hospital?
Burnaby Hospital has a huge catchment area in the community and it has one of the busiest emergency departments in B.C. The number of patients that we
treat requires a significant amount of resources. What I like about it here is the team family environment. It feels ‘homey’. Everyone is very caring when faced with tight and stressful situations. The diligent work ethic that my fellow colleagues from housekeeping, to medical imaging, to lab, to respiratory techs and especially the nurses make me feel proud and fortunate to be a part of this group.
Any messages you’d like to share with the community?
I would just like to say thank you to the hospital’s supporters for their past donations and thank you for your present and future donations. Without the support of the community, the staff here in the ER wouldn’t be able to provide the level of care that we do to the community.