Job Title: Plastic Surgeon, University of Alberta Hospital
Amid the thousands of hands Dr. Hollie Power has operated on, one thumb stands out. A man arrived at emergency carrying his in a bag, hoping Power could reattach it. He’d severed it while building a fence.
Power is a plastic surgeon at the University of Alberta Hospital. She’s used to seeing fingers or even hands arrive at the hospital in a baggie of ice or a lunch cooler. But this thumb surgery was touch and go.
“The blood vessel got a clot in it and we thought he was going to lose the thumb. It took a few surgeries, including a flap surgery to replace some of the skin that was lost.”
Ultimately, she and her surgical team saved the thumb.
“Outcomes like that are what make us want to try harder and keep pushing forward.”
Power grew up in Fort McMurray, where her parents still work in the oil and gas industry. She credits her roots in the trades with inspiring her to become a surgeon.
“I was always interested in figuring out how to fix things,” she says.
Power spends most of her time working on hands, sometimes using microsurgery to reconnect blood vessels that are less than a millimetre in diameter. Her team is also working on a world-leading initiative that uses electrical stimulation to enhance the recovery of damaged nerves.
Power is a champion of Connect Care, which will better allow a patient’s information to be shared amongst doctors; she was named medical informatics lead for surgery in the Edmonton Zone.
She urges people to avoid doing one thing in particular.
“The most common and most destructive thing that I wish people would not do is take the guard off their table saw.”