A doctor from Quebec will lead New Brunswick's long-awaited and controversial provincial trauma program.

Dr. Marcel Martin, a general and trauma surgeon from Sherbrooke, Que., is the new medical director.

"Dr. Martin's specialties offer immense expertise, which will help us to serve our patients better, providing them with top-notch health-care services," Édouard Hendriks, vice-president of medical affairs for Regional Health Authority B, said Thursday.

Martin said there are a couple of issues he hopes to address as soon as possible.

"First of all, the real time information system trauma resgistry … to measure what we're doing right, measure … the problems that we may have and address these problems as quick as possible," Martin said.

 "The second thing [is] to build motivation and to build a good performance education level —  education, education and education again," he said.

Martin will be based in Saint John, but his role is provincial, so he will travel across New Brunswick.

"Having him here will help us achieve a co-ordinated and integrated system that will provide high-quality care to New Brunswickers no matter where they live," Health Minister Mary Schryer said in a news release. "We will start work to build the trauma system as quickly as possible."

Long-running review

It was nearly four years ago that New Brunswick started a review of provincial trauma services, which was sparked by the case of a Tracadie-Sheila man.

Donald Thomas sustained multiple serious injuries — including a broken neck, broken hips and shattered thigh bones — in a head-on collision in Shippagan in November 2005.

Thomas suffered for 18 hours before being transferred to the Saint John Regional Hospital, where he underwent 12 hours of surgery by Dr. Andrew Trenholm and three other orthopedic surgeons.

I wish him all the success he can have and look forward anxiously to his arrival.' — Dr. Andrew Trenholm, former candidate

Trenholm, who is an internationally recognized New Brunswick native, had applied for the medical director's job and was the popular choice among Saint John doctors. But he withdrew his application last May, citing politics and privacy issues.

Trenholm said Thursday he was happy to hear the position has been filled, calling it "long overdue," and he also congratulated Martin.

"I wish him all the success he can have and look forward anxiously to his arrival," Trenholm said. "It's a large task at hand, but the sooner the program is developed and implemented, the better it will be for my patients and the patients of New Brunswick. I hope the government gives him all the support that he needs."

A trauma advisory committee and seven sub-committees, comprising nearly 100 health workers and officials from across the province, have been designing the new provincial trauma network.

"We now have a blueprint for the provincial trauma network which will soon be presented to the minister," said committee chair Dr. Dennis Furlong.


Dr. Dennis Furlong, chair of the trauma advisory committee, says establishing a new provincial trauma network will still take time and patience. (CBC)

"While considerable progress has been made, the process will still take time, patience, and co-operation from all those involved as the system is established."

Martin will be developing and implementing an integrated and co-ordinated trauma system by working closely with Regional Health Authorities A and B, as well as the medical schools, Furlong said.

He will also collaborate with tertiary care programs throughout the surrounding areas.

Trained in surgical intensive care and trauma, Martin has served as the director of the critical care program and traumatology at the Centre de santé universitaire de l'Estrie, the major teaching hospital in Sherbrooke, Que.

He has also been a professor in the department of surgery at the Université de Sherbrooke.