Dr. Peter Azzopardi, Corporate Chief and Medical Director of Paediatrics at Scarborough Health Network (SHN), was always meant to be a paediatrician – it’s in his genetics.

“My dad was a paediatrician at the General Hospital for years – Dr. Paul Azzopardi – basically since it opened,” Dr. Azzopardi tells us. “I would sit in the waiting room when he did rounds since I was three years old. The nurses would take care of me and give me treats and freezies, and eventually, it was where I had one of my first summer jobs.”

Dr. Azzopardi had many jobs at the General Hospital before attending medical school. He worked as a Scrub Nurse and in the file room, and his dad loved having him alongside him In his office.

“I could see how happy my dad was at Scarborough General in his role, and it made me want to stay in Scarborough too. He was an incredible role model – people still come up to me and reminisce about the great care my dad provided during his time,” says Dr. Azzopardi.

When it came time for him to attend medical school, he always found himself coming back to Paediatrics. Dr. Azzopardi felt the most passionate caring for the tiniest patients, and when he finished his training, he returned to Scarborough General to work alongside his father. Now, as a fellow paediatrician.

“Although I worked with my dad, he really let me, the new kid, do my own thing. It was great to learn from him and spend time with him doing what we both loved.”

And now his son – named after his grandfather, Paul – is currently training at the University of British Colombia to become the third generation of Azzopardi paediatricians.

It’s clear that Dr. Azzopardi believes in the excellent care SHN delivers through our paediatric programs.

“Across all three of our hospitals, we have exceptional paediatric care and subspecialties within paediatrics,” says Dr. Azzopardi. “We have so many services for kids, including mental health with a paediatric component, surgery for our young patients, neurology, and gastrointestinal subspecialties, to name just a few. The depth of our paediatric subspecialties is spectacular, and there are very few other community hospitals with the number of subspecialties we have at SHN.”

Dr. Azzopardi is part of an incredibly tight-knit group of physicians who care for our youngest, most vulnerable patients.

“Our services range from chemotherapy for kids with cancer, to high-tech surgical operations, to high-risk neonatal and paediatric inpatient care, to specialized ophthalmology – right here in Scarborough,” Dr. Azzopardi continues. “We have a lot of specialists who can provide unique services for our paediatric patients. And there is so must trust between the specialists in our downtown hospitals and our paediatricians here that together we can ensure our patients are getting the best possible care.”

On top of specialty care, SHN’s paediatrics program also has an after-hours clinic available seven days a week at the General Hospital for non-emergent concerns. SHN’s General Hospital was also one of the first in Toronto – apart from SickKids – to perform MRI scans on children.

“The support services here at SHN allow us to go above and beyond for our young patients,” says Dr. Azzopardi. “Lab, radiology, and phlebotomy departments all take the time to care for these kids. When we need help taking blood, starting an I.V., or performing X-rays, our colleagues in these areas always go the extra mile to care for sick children. We’re fortunate to have them. They’re always willing to develop the special expertise to care for children – you can imagine how much easier it is to get an adult to sit still for an MRI than a toddler. The willingness of our Scarborough Health Network team to provide these services in Scarborough for Scarborough is remarkable.”

And that’s what makes SHN so special – the people who work in our hospitals. Dr. Azzopardi knows our people are our greatest asset, and they reflect the diverse community we serve. That’s why it’s so important to donate to our Scarborough hospitals. Donations help ensure our frontline staff have the modern equipment and facilities to continue caring for our littlest patients and our entire community.

“Sometimes people forget that we have talented and world-class paediatricians right here in Scarborough,” continues Dr. Azzopardi. “But, we need donations and support to ensure our hospitals can get critical upgrades and make them a nicer and more welcoming place for our children.”

That’s where SHN Foundation comes in. SHN Foundation is a bold and resilient community that will stop at nothing to build up our Scarborough hospitals equal to the incredible people who live and work here. Through the Love, Scarborough campaign, SHN Foundation is raising critical awareness and funds to innovate our hospitals.

“We tend to get forgotten about here in Scarborough, and donations aren’t any different. The support of donors helps us stay up-to-date with equipment so families can rely on us to be there for them,” says Dr. Azzopardi. “We have the expertise and excellent healthcare teams to look after your children when they get sick. I want people to know they can trust us when their little ones need world-class care and that 96% of sick children can be safely cared for here in their community hospitals.”

Dr. Azzopardi and his paediatric team are getting ready for a busy cold and flu season, with the triple threat of COVID-19, RSV, and seasonal flu inundating our emergency rooms. Here are some tips from Dr. Azzopardi for staying safe this winter and when to seek treatment for your child if they are showing symptoms.

Dr. Azzopardi and the entire paediatrics team at SHN are proud of their work and the world-class care they provide. They are here to care for our Scarborough community and beyond when kids get sick – from a small bump on the head to life-threatening injuries or diseases.

To support the work of Dr. Azzopardi and our entire SHN team, donate at SHNFoundation.ca/Donate