A local psychiatrist retired last week after 46 years of service but it took him four years to do it.
Dr. Dominic Tang admits that he wasn’t about to shut the doors and say good-bye just like that, he knew instinctively he had to gradually ween himself off out of respect to his many patients who established a trust and respect for the doctor, some after 20 years or so. “It would not be fair , a lot of the patients had strong emotional issues, so I think it worked best for the patients” Tang said.
Tang graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1968 and started working at GHC in 1969. He quickly identified that there was a significant shortage of psychiatric services in Sault Ste. Marie and made it his goal to help fill this gap in service in the Sault at the time, the city only had one certified psychiatrist, Dr. Swartzl.
Tang is credited for exploring the association of mental health and addictions “Dr. Tang was well ahead of his time in recognizing the association between mental health and addictions, and he took a leadership role in the provision of services to this population.” says Jane In the early days, he served as Board Chair of the now Ken Brown Recovery Home and as Clinical Director of the Detox Centre. ” said Jane Sippell, director Clinical programs at SAH. “He provided much appreciated support, education and consultation to the Addictions Treatment Clinic for many many years. ”
“All along I wanted to do family medicine, but after I met Dr.Swartzl, I become much more interested in the psychiatric department, there was a lot of work because there were only two of us” Tang remembers, “When you work, you instinctively know if something is for you and psychiatry felt good, if you don’t like psychiatry, it can be very stressful”
“You can’t ignore anything, you’re not just dealing with a physical state of a person but also emotionally, socially , psychologically of that person”
In 2009, Dr. Dominic Tang received the prestigious Dr. William Hutchinson Award, recognizing distinguished contributions to health care in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma.
Dr. Tang was instrumental locally in the creation of the Mental Health and Addictions Program at SAH. He has played a central role in the provision of both in and outpatient services for over 40 years, not to mention he was one of the best dressed according to his colleagues. “Dr. Tang always looked sharp! He paid attention to his attire and always wore great ties and had the trendiest socks in town” Sippet told a crowd of family, friends and co-workers at a retirement dinner held last week at the Grand Gardens.
So after all this time, what is next for Dr. Tang in his retirement? “Ballroom dancing” The Doctor quickly answered. “it keeps you physically fit and mentally fit too” Tang also became a Grand Father two and half years ago and plans on many trips to China to visit his daughter and grandchild with his wife, Ophelia.
Tang made a speech at the party thanking all of his close co-workers over the years and thanking out of town guests for making the trip up. “It was a wonderful sight to see so many of the “old staff” that evening”
Dr. Tang and his wife were treated to a white limo ride around town at night with a bottle of champagne “I was very impressed”