Meet Michael Peak

If there’s a quality that Michael Peak notices and appreciates, it’s kindness. Since his visit to North York General Hospital (NYGH) in 2021, he believes that it’s kindness that separates NYGH from other hospitals he’s visited.

It’s been a challenging few years for Michael. A devastating flood ruined his home, causing the loss of a beloved family pet and plunging the father of two into anxiety and depression. On one particular day, his chest hurt and his breathing was laboured, causing him to worry that he was having a heart attack.

At the time, Ontario was in the thick of the pandemic and restrictions were in place at NYGH to protect both patients and staff. A hospital was the last place Michael wanted to be, but he was worried for his health and decided to make his way to NYGH’s Charlotte and Lewis Steinberg Emergency.

Sitting in the waiting room, Michael was masked and socially distanced. He watched as a young woman was taking a group of physicians for a tour of the ER. He was taken aback when she came over to him to explain what was happening and to say that she hoped Michael didn’t mind. That single interaction told Michael all he needed to know about the spirit that lives at NYGH.

“You can tell a lot about a place by the way people act,” Michael said. “It’s so obvious that the staff at NYGH like the work they do and the people they serve. They’re empathetic and really care.”

When Michael’s name was called, he went into an exam room and was immediately sent for a chest x-ray and bloodwork. Moments later, Dr. Nik Mamalias came in. His first question came as a complete surprise. “What’s your story, Michael?” he asked. There, amid a bustling ER filled with patients, Michael was struck by the compassion Dr. Mamalias displayed and the interest he took in him. The doctor wanted to know more about what had brought Michael to the hospital and what was going on in his life.

Then Dr. Mamalias told Michael the good news — he hadn’t suffered a heart attack, nor was he in danger of having one. It was likely a Post Traumatic Stress episode from all Michael had lived through.

Grateful for both the reassurance about his health and for the care he received, Michael has decided that should he need medical care in the future, NYGH is where he will go.

“There really is something special at NYGH,” Michael says. “It’s hard to put into words, but the staff seem to have a presence about them. They really do care about the patients and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.”