When Dr. Mark McConkey’s dreams of becoming a professional baseball player were dashed – for lack of talent, if you believe him – he ended up going with his fallback plan, medical school.
It was also a way to step up to his family’s legacy.
McConkey, an orthopedic surgeon at Lions Gate Hospital, has the distinction of being the third generation of his family to work in orthopedics at VCH and a fourth generation physician. Mark’s now-retired father, Dr. J. Patrick McConkey, was an orthopedic surgeon at St Paul’s Hospital, then at UBC Hospital and later worked at Squamish General Hospital.
At St. Paul’s, Dr. J Patrick also worked with his father, Dr. Arthur S. McConkey, who was chief of orthopedic surgery at the hospital.
Dr. W. Arthur McConkey–Mark’s great-grandfather–was chief anesthetist at St. Paul’s Hospital in the early part of the 20th century.
“Apparently there is a picture in one of the hallways at VGH of my great-grandfather giving anesthetic as an intern,” says Mark. Growing up and seeing his father’s work with high-level athletes, professional and Olympic teams, and his own experience as an athlete inspired him to go into sports medicine.
“My main inspiration is my dad and the way he carried himself during his career and treated his patients,” he says. As a first-year med student, Mark recalls learning to scope a knee from his father. “It reminded me of being 16 and him trying to teach me how to drive stick on his ’83 Bronco. There may have been some yelling and a few tears both times,” he jokes.
Mark has been at the Lions Gate Hospital since 2012 and when asked about what he likes about working here, Mark spoke of how well the OR functions.
“We have a great nursing team in the OR and the entire team gets along with one another, plus the ED is very helpful and supportive. It’s an exciting place to be because we get a good mix of ‘big city’ complicated cases and trauma cases related to our proximity to the mountains.”