Resident Spotlight: Dr. TJ Leeper

A graduate of the MD program at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. TJ Leeper is now completing his residency training in Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine. For Dr. Leeper one of the most gratifying aspects of his training is working as part of a team with nurses, surgeons, anesthetists – it’s what makes it so rewarding.  

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in London, Ontario. 

What degrees do you have?

I received my HBSc in Life Sciences and my Doctor of Medicine from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

Who inspired your academic path?
My brother Rob has been my mentor all along. He is a trauma surgeon and ICU physician at London Health Sciences Centre and a faculty member at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. I have looked up to him since I was a child, watching him choose to serve his community in medicine made it an easy to follow.  After two weeks on service of my third year clerkship rotation in anesthesia I decided I could not see myself doing anything else. 

What has been your most rewarding experience to date in your residency?

I shared one of my most rewarding experiences with my brother. A patient came in with a nearly universally lethal injury pattern but we were able to keep him alive. He survived to leave hospital a few weeks later. Saving a life was very rewarding. I always enjoy working with my brother, but the feeling of working as a part of a team with the nurses, surgeons, anesthetists, and the ICU was what made it so rewarding.

What learning from your undergraduate medical education or early residency do you return to often now as you are pursuing your residency?

I often recall a case where a patient did very poorly on the ward and had to be admitted to the ICU. The information of why the patient was moved was not communicated effectively, which left the family confused and overwhelmed. I reflect on this because it is then that I realized that patients often know very little about their care or the inner workings of a hospital. As a result, I now try to be more cognizant of what I say to patients and I try to take time explaining to families when a loved one is very ill.

What has been the most challenging experience to date in your residency?

Balancing work and life has been the greatest challenge of residency.  My wife and I welcomed our daughter to our family in my second year and while it was the highlight of my life, the demands of a busy career and my desire to spend every free moment with my family is a tough balance to strike.

How do you maintain balance in your life?

Thankfully my wife and I have a lot of shared interests, so including her and my daughter in my activities and interests has allowed me to maintain a balance between family, work and personal time.  I still like to play hockey occasionally with my brother.

Rapid Round:

If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
Don’t take life too seriously, after all nobody is getting out of here alive.

What are three albums that give a glimpse of who you are as a person?

Third Eye blind – self-titled album
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

The Wiggles – welcome to the wiggle house

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I don’t need to justify wanting to be The Rock, look at him. He’s the pinnacle of physical fitness and comedy.

What is the most random thing you’ve ever watched on Netflix?

The Wiggles – of course now I’m a big fan.