Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the one motto the retired Corner Brook anesthesiologist says he lived his life by. Fittingly, that did not change when he entered hospitals and operating rooms throughout his distinguished career.
Dureke said he lived that way when he was educated in his native Nigeria, again when he received his medical degree in Dublin, Ireland. It continued as a practising doctor in East Africa — with the Nigerian Armed Forces — and later as a medical consultant in Ireland.
However, it was his gentle and caring demeanor with patients, coinciding with his steady hand and mind in practice, locally that was recognized recently by the Canadian Medical Association. He had bestowed upon him the association’s honorary life membership.
Dureke said it was an honour and privilege.
“The news was fantastic,” he said. “I was delighted and excited.
“... It is not everyday you do work and somebody pats you on the shoulder for it.”
He moved to western Newfoundland in 1984, working at Western Memorial Regional Hospital until he retired in 2002. His extensive medical career in this province included work in Burin, Carbonear, Grand Falls, Gander, Stephenville, Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
He said such an individual award is recognition of the medical teams he worked with over the years. However, others are quick to credit his personality and professionalism as a reason why he stood out in the field. Dureke said it is just his nature.
“I have one great commandment that I believe in,” he said. “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. If there is a patient there, I look after them as if they are my sister or brother or son.”
Dr. Brendan Lewis, board member with the Canadian Medical Association, was a member of those teams that include Dureke. The surgeon recognizes the unique approach the anesthesiologist brought to the operating room.
“He was always a very professional doctor, very competent anesthetist,” Lewis said. “He had a passion to provide the best care possible. I believe every patient he encountered always felt comfortable with him and, from my own experience, he provided the utmost care.
“He really cared about what he did, cared about the patient.”
As a surgeon, Lewis said it was comforting having an anesthesiologist of that quality.
Lewis also recognized the asset Dureke was, considering he stayed in Newfoundland to finish his career, helping fill a void in this specialty profession.
Meanwhile, Dureke said it was local recruiting efforts from Dr. Brian Harley, Rob Kenny and Dennis Waterman that brought him here. He said it was then the safe lifestyle and caring people that made him feel at home.