Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment, is taking a leave of absence herself.
The Toronto Star broke the story of de Villa’s leave of absence. The Star, in turn, shared the story with other media organizations, including CTV and Global News.
De Villa is taking a leave of absence while she receives treatment for melanoma, which is one of six tumours she is currently undergoing treatment for.
De Villa is not alone though.
Just in the past week, another top public health official, Toronto’s chief medical executive, Dr. Eric Hoskins, has also taken a leave of absence from his post, as he receives radiation treatment for cancer, and is undergoing chemotherapy for a form of lymphoma.
The Star did not receive any complaints or inquiries from former colleagues about Hoskins.
It is highly unusual to take leave of absence for medical treatment, the Star was told by public health officials.
According to the Canadian Public Health Association, the term “leave of absence” is defined as “a period of time (typically one to three days per week, depending on the nature of the illness) where a physician may make a decision to discontinue his/her duties and take leave or a period of time when a physician may make a decision to stop treating a patient, but still have continuing duties and responsibilities.”
The association also said the term leave “comes from the Latin leave (to go), off (to leave) and ae (away) (from); off means to leave, to leave.” Therefore, it follows that “leave of absence is the right choice when the physician is asked to suspend his/her duties in order to treat a patient, but still have continuing duties and responsibilities.”
According to the association, doctors routinely take leave of absence to receive treatment for medical issues from one disease to the next, often switching between diseases.
Some examples of leave of absence from one disease to another, the association said, are:
Heart Disease: As a heart disease patient, a physician may take a leave of absence to receive treatment from a different type of heart disease, from diabetes, from cancer, or from