Red Chuck Taylors and a Mega-Watt Smile



Chuck Taylors

Remembering Dr. Doug Cochrane

The monument of a great man is not of granite or marble or bronze. It consists of his goodness, his deeds, his love and his compassion.

– Alfred Armand Montapert

In spite of all the achievements, impact and greatness that people can achieve in their lifetimes, there are a very special few who can accomplish all of these in the generosity of their smile. This was Dr. Doug Cochrane. As a symbol of challenging the status quo, Dr. Cochrane was also known to wear red Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars with his suits. He encouraged others to do so as well, as a reminder to all of us to challenge existing norms.

Earlier this year, in February, we learned of Dr. Cochrane’s passing. There are no words to articulate the depth of the loss to our health care community. Dr. Cochrane was an extraordinary clinician and, more importantly, human being. By all accounts, he was the best combination of brave, brilliant and kind. This disposition made him an inspirational leader and administrator. 

“Beyond being a gifted clinician and facilitator for important change in our health system, Dr. Cochrane was a phenomenal leader and human,” says Allison Young, CEO, KGH Foundation. 

Dr. Cochrane had stepped down as Interior Health’s Chair of the Board of Director’s just two weeks prior to his passing. 

“He had this big job, important initiatives to drive, and a full schedule,” continues Allison. “Yet when he spoke with you, you felt seen and heard. And later, he would give you that great, big smile and remember you, and what you had talked about.”

Perhaps no one benefited more from Dr. Cochrane’s expertise and generous human spirit, than our province’s littlest patients. Kids were his jam. He was an exceptional pediatric neurosurgeon with incredible clinical skills. Originally from Ontario, Dr. Cochrane pursued his medical studies at the University of Toronto, the University of Calgary, and completed his fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. He spent the majority of his clinical career with the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia. He had an extraordinary gift for making his patients, and their families, feel welcome, safe and cared for. 

After over thirty years of clinical practice, Dr. Cochrane retired and focused his efforts on the quality of the health system and its impact on outcomes for people in the Interior Health region. He was a pioneer in patient safety and quality. Early on, he asked the question, “How do we put people at the centre of care? ” He made it his mission. 

Dr. Cochrane chaired the BC Patient Safety Task Force from its inception in 2003, he helped establish the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (now known as Health Quality BC), and was a humble ally to Indigenous health. 

“Doug was an extremely kind and thoughtful friend and mentor,” shares Dr. Devin Harris, Chair, Health Quality BC and Cabinet Co-Chair of the KGH Foundation’s Closer to home than you think campaign. “Professionally, he had a lasting impact on health care in BC and Canada – in patient safety, medical quality, physician leadership, and health equity. As a clinician, he has changed the lives of so many children and families.” 

Dr. Cochrane recognized that technical skills were not enough and that the climate, culture and the way people talk to each other mattered. He leaves an unparalleled legacy in clinical care, health care leadership, and patient quality and safety. 

Dr. Harris sums it up perfectly. “His are big (red) shoes to fill.”

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