Ontario Medical Association hopes to honour slain physician Elana Fric-Shamji

Fric-Shamji was a Scarborough family doctor and mother of three. Her husband, Toronto neurosurgeon Mohammed Shamji, is charged with first-degree murder in her death.

She was 'adored by patients,' says physican friend

Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji was a family doctor in Scarborough and a mother of three. (Twitter)

The Ontario Medical Association hopes to honour family physician Elana Fric-Shamji whose body was found last week in Vaughan, Ont. 

Her husband, Toronto neurosurgeon Mohammed Shamji, is remanded in custody after being charged with first-degree murder in her death.

In a statement on Sunday, the Ontario Medical Association said a group of Fric-Shamji's colleagues is looking for ways to support her, and are considering everything from a trust fund for her children to support for one of the many causes she was passionate about. 

"The Ontario Medical Association is also actively working on a way to permanently honour Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji's memory," said OMA president Dr. Virginia Walley.

Death met with shock, grief

Fric-Shamji's death has been met with "widespread shock and grief," said Dr. Nadia Alam, a family physician and anaesthetist in Georgetown, Ont.

"She was a big part of various physician Facebook forums, so many docs knew of her, if not her directly," Alam said. "And many enjoyed her sense of humour, keen intelligence and kindness." 

Fric-Shamji, a mother of three, went to the University of Ottawa for medical school. She worked at The Scarborough Hospital as a family physician, and was also an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and a member of the health policy committee at the Ontario Medical Association.

Alam recalled meeting her during an OMA council meeting in Toronto this fall.

Alam sat with her during the meeting, and later at dinner. Alam recalled her storytelling — she told anecdotes about how a tweet of hers had gone viral, and shared funny stories about her time in medical school — and Alam was struck by how "lovely she was, how bright, vibrant and joyful."

Alam said she "was excited to have begun a new friendship with her."

That friendship was cut short by Fric-Shamji's death, which police believe was a "deliberate act."

Fric-Shamji's body was found in a suitcase on Thursday afternoon near a bridge underpass. Her cause of death was strangulation and blunt-force trauma. 

Police say Fric-Shamji and her husband were having marital problems.

But those who knew Fric-Shamji hope to remember her life and work, not the tragic circumstances surrounding her death.

Dr. Allyson Koffman (left) said her friend Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji (right) was "adored" by her patients. (Allyson Koffman/Facebook)

She was "adored by patients," said Toronto physician Dr. Allyson Koffman, who called herself a former colleague and close friend of the physician.

Fric-Shamji was an avid runner who tried to be the "perfect wife and mother," and practiced what she preached when it came to healthy living, Koffman said.

'She was witty and lovely'

Friends are also remembering the physician for her constant smile and happy-go-lucky personality.

Essex, Ont., resident Brendan Marc Byrne told CBC Toronto that he and Fric-Shamji went to high school together in Tecumseh, Ont. and kept in touch through Facebook. 

"She was brilliant," he said. "She was witty and lovely and will be missed."

Farheen Imtiaz, whose son used to go to the same school as Fric-Shamji's three children, said the pair used to "girl talk" when volunteering together at school events, like pizza lunches and the Terry Fox Run.

Fric-Shamji had started taking martial arts classes and was an active poster on social media, Imtiaz said.

But it's her personality Imtiaz remembers most.

"She was such a loving person in every role, whether it was a doctor, being a friend, being a mother," Imtiaz said. "She adored every second of motherhood."