Burns Lake’s Dr. George Magee awarded for rural long service

Dr. Magee was honoured with a rural long service award by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.

Dr. George Magee was recently awarded an award for rural long service. He has practiced medicine in Burns Lake for 44 years.

Dr. George Magee was recently awarded an award for rural long service. He has practiced medicine in Burns Lake for 44 years.

Dr. George Magee has been practicing medicine in Burns Lake for 44 years.

He arrived in Burns Lake in 1968, with his new wife Bernice in tow. The couple had visited Burns Lake earlier on their honeymoon and it was then that they made the decision to return to Burns Lake to live.

“I was a graduate of the University of Toronto and we had come to Burns Lake from Port Colborne, Alberta. Bernice and I were only planning to live here for two years,” he said

That two years has turned into a life time.

Just recently, Dr. Magee was honoured with a rural long service award by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada at the 20 annual rural and remote medicine course, held in Whistler.

The award was presented by fellow rural doctors and was given for long and meritorious medical service to the Lakes District community.

Dr. Magee said to Lakes District News that receiving the award is a great honour. “The Society of Rural Physicians is a very important organization for rural physicians. Burns Lake has played a big role with this society and has been involved from the very beginning,” he said.

When Dr. Magee first chose to practice in Burns Lake, he said it was for the excitement of practicing a full slate of medicine, from general practice to obstetrics, that was once demanded from rural physicians,

“Medicine has changed so much over the years … now rural physicians don’t do as many of the things they would like to do, like delivering babies, anesthesia and managing surgical cases. These services are attractive to young doctors and that is why I had originally chosen to work in a rural area.”

Dr. Magee said working in Burns Lake allowed him to provide complete medical care for patients.

He explained that rural medicine differs from the scope of practice from that of physicians practicing in a city.

“The scope for rural physicians is greater and the skills and training required is greater. Rural physicians need to be able to deal with any number of medical issues, knowing that they cannot turn patients away.”

Dr. Magee was one of a number of physicians that helped to develop the ‘Manual of Rural Practice’ about 20 years ago.

The textbook is an instructive guide published by the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine, for rural doctors.

He said the book took several years to compile and was initiated after he realized that B.C. medical school graduates lacked the medical skills required to work in rural communities.

Dr. Magee, shared the editing of the book with John Wootten from Quebec and Peter Hutten-Czapski from Ontario and said the book has since been used extensively by rural physicians in Canada and in Australia and New Zealand.

“The book was called the Burns Lake project, until it was published,” he said, adding that the book is due to be updated again.

“I will probably play a role in the updating of the book, along with other young doctors who have new ideas to add,” he said.

Two years ago Dr. Magee was inducted into the Northern Medical Society’s Hall of Fame, for his work in Northern B.C. which was one of the prerequisites for being awarded the rural long service award.

One of Dr. Magee’s most rewarding moments was delivering triplets. “These triplets just graduated from high school this year,” he said, adding that he feels it is important that new physicians have the opportunity to have these experiences.

However he also cautioned that there needs to be proper facilities in place to support these types of services in rural areas.

“The new Lakes District Hospital is a great thing for Burns Lake, but I don’t think the planning for the hospital is with the future of Burns Lake’s needs in mind. It will have an obstetrics suite that won’t be used because if an emergency cesarean section is required it has to be done within 30 minutes. Burns Lake is not within 30 minutes of an operating room. It is a career ender to lose a mother or baby, so physicians are not willing to risk deliveries without an operating room facility close by.”

As for the draw backs of being a rural physician, he said there is a lack of anonymity in a small community.

“I get medical questions when I am out on the street, or out having dinner,” he laughed.

Dr. Magee is now retired, but has been working on an as needed basis at the Burns Lake Medical Clinic to help with the gap in physician coverage.

Dr. Magee is still working in Prince George as a locum and has also worked as a locum in Fraser Lake in recent months


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Kindergarten class out learning some basic safety and biking skills on Spirit North Day. (Rachelle van Zanten photo/Lakes District News)
Spirit North’s after school program for spring and summer begin

The Spirit North’s after-school program at Morris Williams Elementary school has been… Continue reading

Indigenous count crucial to determining services

Pandemic protection measures in place for Indigenous communities

Kenny Olson in the bakery department where he worked for the past two years. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Community bids adieu to Kenny Olson

Retirement beckons after 40 years with Overwaitea/Save-On Foods

Beth Berlin with Lisa Cant after administering vaccines at the one-day walk-in clinic in Burns Lake last week. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake health area sees 50 per cent immunized population

Unknown when further clinics may be held

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read