After emergency hospitalization, Conservative MP urges politicians to practise self-care

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty is urging his fellow politicians to take time to look after themselves after he found himself in emergency surgery with organ failure and difficulty breathing.

'You can't help others if you're not well,' Todd Doherty writes from hospital bed

Conservative MP Todd Doherty of Prince George, B.C., is recovering in hospital after experiencing multiple organ failure. (Todd Doherty)

A Conservative MP has written a message urging fellow politicians to take care of their health after he was sent to hospital for emergency surgery.

"You can't help others if you're not well yourself," Todd Doherty, who represents the B.C. riding of Cariboo-Prince George, said in post on his Facebook page Monday.

According to the post, Doherty was taken to hospital Jan. 20 where it was discovered his gallbladder needed to be removed.

We were told that it looks as though my kidneys and lungs.. my body... was going septic and shutting down... failing for some reason.- Todd Doherty

That wasn't the only problem.

"I stopped breathing and after some time the surgical team managed to stabilize me," the post says. 

"The next 48 hours were filled with emotions and uncertainty as we were told that it looks as though my kidneys and lungs.. my body... was going septic and shutting down... failing for some reason."

Doherty posted images of himself hooked up to medical equipment post-surgery 'as motivation to ensure I'm doing whatever I can to make certain I do not put my family through this again.' (Todd Doherty)

Doherty said while he still has political goals, his most important priorities are now his health and family.

"Amidst the chaos, confusion and noise one thing was so vividly clear... [my wife] and the kids in tears," he wrote.

"I'm never putting my family through that again."

Work-life balance for politicians an ongoing concern

Doherty said he hopes his "eye opener" of an experience will serve as motivation for other politicians to take the time to look after themselves in between meetings and emails.

Long work hours are a known source of both mental and physical health problems, including fatigue, diabetes and heart and lung diseases.

A study from Canada's Library of Parliament found "there are few jobs with longer hours and greater stress than that of a member of legislature."

Soon after, a House of Commons committee began exploring ways to free up the time of MPs, including ending Friday sittings in Parliament so politicians can direct attention elsewhere.

About the Author

Andrew Kurjata

@akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is a radio producer and digital journalist in northern British Columbia, situated in the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh in Prince George. Email: andrew.kurjata@cbc.ca | Twitter: @akurjata | Secure PGP: http://www.akurjata.ca