HOK #118: Meet Kwadwo Kyeremanteng

Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng is an ICU and palliative care doctor at the Ottawa Hospital and Montfort Hospital. Photo courtesy of Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng.

“I am an ICU and palliative care doctor at the Ottawa Hospital and Montfort Hospital. I have recently been appointed the director of ICU at the Ottawa intensive care unit, and I have an appointment at both hospitals’ research institutes. I also host a podcast called Solving Healthcare

I got into medicine because I had pretty bad asthma as a kid, and I had a pretty amazing pediatrician. He was one of those guys that, no matter how tough of a time you were having breathing or how sick you were, the second you walked in the room, he had such a presence and ability to calm the nerves and put you at ease. Every time I left the hospital, I remember thinking, ‘This is somebody I want to be. This is something I want to be able to do for people — to alleviate their suffering and get them through tough times.’ 

I started out as a bartender, which, I must admit, was one of the funnest parts of my life, and I actually met my wife that way. I got into medical school at the University of Alberta and came to Ottawa for training in internal medicine, which led to ICU and palliative care training, and [we] eventually landed here. 

We moved to Westboro about a year ago, and what brought us into the area is the fact that it’s a real community. There is the unbelievably warm, receptive group that makes continued efforts to create this community with a family feel. Being from Edmonton, all our family is in Alberta, so we really wanted to have that community feel for our three young boys. It’s incredible to support small businesses by just walking or biking there. It’s a community that’s keen on giving back to those who are less fortunate and that’s important to us. 

One of the things we started over the pandemic is called Bridges over Barriers which has helped raise money for disadvantaged kids so that they have at least their basic needs. We started it with a group of five people, and we have raised over $120,000 now in a year and a half. 

The pandemic put a lens on the healthcare system, where we were struggling. I tried to use our platforms to do some advocacy. Soon after, I launched into doing local and national news about the topic and just trying to be a voice of reason and calm sharing this time. 

I’ve seen the devastating impacts COVID [-19] has in patients and their families. I have seen how you could have someone talking to you one minute and is then in desperate need of needing to be put on life support. I have seen young and old pass away from this and even those who have got through the virus, I’ve seen how life afterwards will be extremely challenging and they are having a certain level of disability as a result.”

Story collected by Charlie Senack.

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