Dr. Adam Rapoport
Role at the Centre
Pediatric Palliative Care Consultant, Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children’s Centre
Year became a doctor
Year started at the Centre
“There are days when I have a good cry,” says Dr. Adam Rapoport. He says this in a matter-of-fact tone. He’s not sheepish about it, but he’s not boasting either. It’s simply an outcome of the job he’s chosen: pediatric palliative care.
“I permit myself to get attached to the children I treat,” he says. “It makes me more effective in what I do and the families understand and appreciate that.”
Dr. Rapoport has been with the Temmy Latner Centre since the summer of 2009, operating as a Pediatric Palliative Care Consultant at the Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children’s Centre, although he divides his time between this job and his position as the Medical Director of the Palliative and Bereavement Care Service and pediatrician at the Hospital for Sick Children.
His focus in pediatric medicine started early. “I was always attracted to working with kids,” he says. “They have this amazing resilience; the thing that makes a child a child remains with them right to the end. Their priorities remain childlike. They still want to have their friends over to play video games.”
He admits, with a faint smile, that at the beginning of his studies he “probably wanted to do the romantic thing — become a brain surgeon or something,” but as his training progressed, he had a change of heart. “I think it was the central idea that resonated with me — that it’s not just the quantity of life, the number of days you have left, that we should focus on. The quality of the life that you live in those days is equally important. That rang true — that we should make every day count. So whether it’s two hours, two days, two months or two years they have left, I can help them live the life they want to lead,” he says.
His relationship with the Temmy Latner Centre started in 2007, when he was awarded the Golda Fine Award, which is administered by the Centre. “That’s how I first met Dr. Librach and the group here,” he says. One of Adam’s primary roles at the Centre is to develop the pediatric side of the Centre’s program.
He says his real passion is teaching — he wants to help the Centre create a real centre of excellence for pediatric palliative care. Yet what shines through is his concern and compassion.
“The truth is: I love my work, because I really feel like I’m making a difference in the lives of these children, and their families. Sure...all of the situations are sad, but I try not to focus on that. I remind myself that I didn’t choose this — for reasons outside of my control, this was the hand that was dealt to this child. But I can help the family make the most of the situation; I can make the child and family’s wishes a priority and help make everything as good as possible.”
“The things that make them really grateful are sometimes so small. Sometimes it’s just that somebody has taken the time to talk to them about their experiences — someone is willing to hear and understand the child and the family.” Yet, for some, learning to live life to the fullest when they’ve been “dealt a difficult hand” can make a world of difference. “For some children and families, when I help them identify their goals and live life according to their wishes...well, for some that’s when ‘living’ really begins.”