Who We Are: Dr. Jim Williams
“I’m looking after the babies of the babies I delivered.”
RxTLC: Dr. Jim Williams at your service
For patients of Dr. Jim Williams, the licence plate says it all: “Rx TLC”.
In his family practice in Dundas, he manages a full roster of 1,800 patients, even while setting aside two days a week for house calls to patients facing the end of their lives.
Care at the beginning and end of life have been twin passions since opening his doors in 1978.
After medical school at the University of Calgary and a family medicine residency at McMaster University, he “still wasn’t confident and comfortable” that he could deliver babies, he says.
“On my very first day, I had three patients in labour. By the end of that day I was a whole lot more confident,” he says with a laugh.
The experience taught him that “doing” is the best education – insight he found helpful while coaching hundreds of family medicine residents over the past 35 years.
“I loved teaching for McMaster, but it took me a few years to learn the best thing I could do was stay out of the way and let the learners problem-solve.”
The personal touch
Jim and his wife Rose, a pediatric nurse, raised three children in Dundas.
Their daughter Stephanie Dafoe, a nurse practitioner, works with Jim in a bustling office in the middle of town. With her help, he can finally fully engage a long-time passion for palliative care, visiting dying patients at home.
Sitting in their own living room, with a loved one nearby, hearts will often turn to subjects they avoid in an office, he says. He encourages sharing.
He says friends and relatives – even those entrusted with a Power of Attorney – often lack a full understanding of what patients want in terms of late stage medical treatments, organ donation, even funeral planning.
“I ask them to discuss what they want with their families now, and not to consider it a one-time discussion.”
Jim’s dad was a farmer and, like Jim, a pragmatist. “He would say, ‘don’t be a farmer,’ because there’s so much that you can’t control,” he recalls.
“It took me nearly 30 years to realize that I have little control over the variables in medicine, either. But what we can do is try to help people along the way.”