Introducing an anesthesiologist at Norfolk General Hospital

Dr. Mark Levitan is one of Norfolk General Hospital’s (NGH) newest anesthesiologists.

Anesthesiologists, like Dr. Levitan, evaluate, monitor, and supervise patient care before, during, and after surgery, delivering anesthesia, leading the Anesthesia Care Team, and ensuring optimal patient safety.

Dr. Levitan earned his medical degree at the University of Ottawa and completed his residency in family medicine and anesthesia in Northern Ontario through the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Dr. Levitan began practicing at NGH in October of 2022.

We spoke with Dr. Levitan to learn more about his role and the impact he has on our patients and their families.

How does your role help the patient?

“My main role as an anesthesiologist is to keep patients safe and comfortable during surgery. This sometimes includes meeting with them before the day of surgery to make sure they are properly prepared. In addition to this, we provide epidurals to help with pain during labor and delivery, and sometimes we are called to other areas of the hospital for a variety of reasons (for example, patients who require breathing tubes).”

What originally led you to anesthesiology?

“I decided to do training in the speciality early during my family medicine residency. It’s a truly unique speciality and there are several things I love about it including being able to alleviate pain for patients, being there for patients at particularly vulnerable times, the procedural nature of it, and being able to help in emergency situations.”

What do you look forward to the most when you come into work?

“One of the things I look forward to most is being able to chat with the amazing staff around the OR throughout the day. The opportunity to work closely together as a team is another huge advantage of working in this kind of environment and we’re lucky to have such great people at NGH. I also really enjoy having medical learners with me and the very mediocre jokes from one of my colleagues (Mike Petrochuk).”

What’s the most challenging part of the job?

“There are a number of challenges that are part of the job. Some of the patients we’re providing anesthesia for are quite sick; it can be pretty stressful to make numerous decisions, with limited information, in time sensitive, emergency situations. The hours for this job can also be tough, since they can be long and unpredictable, including overnight.”

Why did you choose to work at Norfolk General Hospital?

“After residency, my fiancée and I explored various rural towns in Ontario that were looking for an anesthesiologist (including Simcoe). We decided that NGH was the best fit for us in terms of its location, the amazing community, and the hospital.”

What is the best part about working at Norfolk General Hospital?

“NGH has an excellent surgical program, but I have to say (even though it’s a bit cliché) the best part of working at NGH is getting to work with my wonderful colleagues.”

What do you like best about living in Norfolk County?

“Norfolk County is beautiful, and we are excited to continue exploring it this summer. We were particularly drawn to the beautiful trails and beaches, as well as the fantastic breweries, wineries, restaurants, and cafes. There are a plenty of events and activities to get involved with and the community has been extremely welcoming. I regularly run on the Lynn Valley Trail and we recently enjoyed Eat & Drink Norfolk.”

What does patient care mean to you?

“To me, good patient care means going beyond providing safe, component, evidence-based care. It’s also about effectively working with a team, advocating for change when necessary and recognizing that the patient is someone’s loved one. It’s important to keep in mind that what is routine for us as health care providers is often far from routine for our patients. Traits like compassion and respect are fundamental to providing this type of care.”