Job Title: Pediatric Neurologist, Peak Medical Group
John Neilson was kind of a weird kid. “I was drawn to things that typically kids would shy away from, like getting my blood drawn or going to the dentist,” he says. “There was never any pull back from things that make kids squeamish, like broken bones or bloody noses.”
He wasn’t drawn to the gore, or pain — he was drawn to the medical procedures and complexity of the human body. He didn’t know it yet, but four-year-old Neilson wanted to be a doctor. And there’s no more complex medical task than treating the human brain.
“Nothing happens in the body without the nervous system,” Neilson says. “It’s who you are, and it directs every other organ system.”
Exploring neurology’s ever-expanding horizon is a lofty goal. Incorporating a business and taking out a loan to start your own practice — prior to graduation — is literally unheard of, at least in Canada.
Some of his colleagues were skeptical he could see enough patients to pay back his loan, but seeing a larger-than-usual number of patients was part of the point. “With neurology patients, you’re either at death’s door and need to be seen right away, or you’re like 99 per cent of people with neurologic conditions and have to wait years to be seen. I want to see the 99 per cent today.”
Five years since opening, hundreds of kids with migraines, behavioural issues, autism, Tourette’s, ADHD and other neurological conditions want to see him, too.