Hero in Health: Dr. Eglee Gimon

Providing dignity in every moment

Dr. Eglee Gimon: Physician, Palliative Consult Services.

Dr. Eglee Gimon has dedicated her career to providing holistic care, helping alleviate the suffering of patients with complex life limiting or life changing illnesses. That’s what makes Dr. Eglee Gimon our Hero in Health!

The Heroes in Health initiative encourages patients and their families to give back in thanks for the extraordinary care they’ve received. To donate and nominate your health hero, visit our website.

Most people don’t know exactly what they want to do by the age of 15, but for Dr. Eglee Gimon, it was clear to her from a very young age. Demonstrating remarkable precocity, she graduated from high school when she was 14. Astonishingly, she embarked on her university journey and entered medical school at 15.

She did all her undergraduate medical training in Venezuela and eventually ended up moving to Regina, Saskatchewan. Dr. Gimon had to do a number of equivalency exams to have her credentials recognized in Canada and once completed, she was accepted in Family Medicine.

“There have been a few crossroads where I had to decide what would be next in terms of focusing on my practice. I wanted to do Geriatrics primarily,” Dr. Gimon said.

During her time in Family Medicine, she was introduced to Palliative Care. She made the difficult decision to leave Family Medicine to become a full time Palliative Care Physician.

“It was the need that I saw for patients that have a lot of challenges with their care or experience multiple chronic illnesses. That’s how I decided to concentrate on Palliative Care.”

She has been at Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) since 2016 on the Palliative Care Consult team.

“Dr. Gimon is quietly empathetic, applying her accumulated knowledge of symptom management to alleviate the suffering of patients while at the same time ensuring their dignity at this difficult stage of life. Dr. Gimon impacts the dignity and quality of life for palliative patients on a daily basis, while at the same time providing emotional and clinical support to others on her team,” said Bill Thorton, Chaplain at FMC.

One of the profoundly meaningful aspects of Palliative Care for her, is the ability to provide support to both patients and their families. Even in the most challenging situations, where improvement seems elusive, she remains dedicated to making a positive difference and consistently finds ways to offer assistance.

“There are so many things that I love about Palliative Care. I think it embodies the true art and science of Medicine itself because we are not only addressing physical issues, but also the spiritual and psychosocial issues a patient and their family might be facing. We provide holistic care,” Dr. Gimon said.

It’s important to her to see each person not as a patient, but as a human being. She always tries to understand aspects of their life so she can provide options that are individually focused.

“It’s a privilege to enter the lives of the wonderful people we meet. I have no words to describe what having that privilege means to me.”

She loves the work environment at Foothills Medical Centre that is multi-disciplinary and collaborative. Within her team, there are Clinical Nurse Specialists and Spiritual Care Providers. Her team works with every unit of the hospital that may need their expertise, which means they then become part of a bigger team. Dr. Gimon sees this model as giving the best care possible for the patient.

“We are meant to be multidisciplinary and collaborative. We navigate issues to make things better and help bring resources where we’re needed to our patients and families.”

Many challenges exist within Palliative Care, but one that stands out to Dr. Gimon are when families don’t understand what Palliative Care entails and are afraid.

She recalls a gentleman that had been diagnosed with a recurrent malignancy leading to progressive malignant bone pain, upon knowing such news and experiencing such pain he was distraught and in despair, he was convinced on his own words that ‘the end was near’ and therefore was refusing treatments. The Palliative Care team was consulted to help him with his pain and once his symptoms were better controlled his life outlook changed dramatically. He expressed with sincere gratitude that he had hope again. But, it was not only the medications that helped but the holistic approach established, giving him the certainty that he was not alone and that there would always be something that could be done to improve any situation.  It is this opportunity to connect with her patients and to help alleviate suffering, that is so important to Dr. Gimon.

Thank you Dr. Gimon, for providing compassionate care and giving dignity to all the patients you help. With her calm and empathetic demeanor, it is no wonder she’s been recognized as a Hero in Health.

Heroes in Health is part of our Grateful Patient initiative. Patients and their families can make a gift to Calgary Health Foundation and recognize their healthcare heroes. To donate and nominate your hero in health, visit our website.

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