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on the job

By Amy Reiswig, June 2012

When we get very sick, Dr. Brian Berry and his hematopathologist colleagues provide the behind-the-scene search for the cause.

Lifeblood. It’s a term used as a metaphor for importance: trust is the lifeblood of a relationship; free speech is the lifeblood of democracy; cooperation is the lifeblood of community. Someone for whom such a designation is truly apt in terms of our local community is hematopathologist Dr. Brian Berry, MD.

Hematopathology is a branch of diagnostic medicine in which blood is analyzed for disease. Those vials that get slapped with a bar code and sent who knows where when you’re having tests done at the Royal Jubilee Hospital or, in about half the cases, at LifeLabs—end up in Dr Berry’s lab.

By Amy Reiswig, May 2012

A salute to the guys that ride the trucks and heave the cans.

I looooooove trash! Many of you will remember Oscar the Grouch’s impassioned ode to anything dirty or dingy or dusty, but the main reason he as a character was funny is that, let’s face it, nobody loves trash. In fact, a good deal of civic infrastructure goes into separating society from what we find distasteful, dangerous or just plain disposable. That means hiring people to do the dirty work, and some people—like Saanich garbage collector Randy Smith—do love that. 

The Victoria-born Smith started emptying household garbage cans for the District of Saanich about 18 years ago. And while he’s had other jobs for Saanich during that time, he says: “I’ve always come back to garbage.” Which might have many of you—and me—asking: Why?