The University of Calgary Interventional Pulmonary Medicine Program

uses advanced technologies to improve patient care and to improve patient quality of life.  Unfortunately, government funding sources for such technologies are limited.

We depend on the generosity of the community and industry for assistance in the purchase of these advanced technologies and for support of this unique Canadian program. 

Dr. Stather's professional accomplishments

Originally from Guelph, Ontario, David was an Interventional Pulmonary Medicine specialist at the University of Calgary.

He was widely recognized as a passionate and energetic colleague who practiced medicine to the highest clinical and academic standards. He cared deeply about the wellbeing of his patients, many of whom had cancer and other advanced respiratory diseases.  Dave, what he insisted patients call him, made a difference in their lives with his commitment, expertise and compassion.

He directed the Calgary IPM fellowship training program.  Under his direction, seven IP fellows completed our program, and all are now working in academic institutions across Canada. Dave was as keen to teach procedural skills as he was to perform them. He developed expertise in the use of simulation in interventional pulmonary medicine and published a number of scientific papers in this area.

Dave acknowledged that skill acquisition for procedures most commonly takes place at the bedside. He took the lead in not only offering training, but in studying the tools available for this training. The availability of high fidelity computer simulators for EBUS became an area of particular interest.  He, in various papers, showed that performance these simulators was different between expert and novice bronchoscopists and that training on the simulator translated into improved clinical skill when first performing EBUS on patients.  It is because of this work that it is now our policy that learners do not perform clinical EBUS cases until they have completed the EBUS simulation training. In this fashion, fellows starting an IP elective have as much skill as those at the end of a rotation prior to the use of simulation.

Dave’s latest study on this topic was to use the simulator to assess how IP fellows’ EBUS skills improved over time.  He noticed impressive variability seen between learners, demonstrating that competency is not entirely dependent on procedural volume.  Dave’s publications paint a picture which, as a whole, strongly supports the use of such training in our field. It is incumbent on all of us to incorporate this knowledge in our programs and to further develop and study simulation activities for other procedures in our field.

Outside of the simulation world, Dave was also actively developing a novel bronchoscopic approach to the treatment of pulmonary aspergilloma, a difficult to treat life-threatening condition. Leveraging improved navigation capacities in the lung with smaller scopes and instruments, he was able to access aspergilloma cavities and essentially debride them of the fungal ball and cure them of their disease. He was actively working on a manuscript describing a larger case series.

That Dave’s achievements in IP were accomplished in his short 7 year career is exceptional, and speaks to his dedication and hard work. He certainly had much more to contribute to this field. His legacy will live on through the fellows he has trained, and his colleagues who will endeavour to continue his work.

No one can say that Dave did not live life to its fullest.