Tom Carson, the former board chair of St. Boniface Hospital, passed away on November 16th, 2022 at the age of 74, leaving behind a legacy of commitment to compassionate care. He spent 12 years on the board, helping the hospital to navigate many complex and challenging times.
Nicole Aminot, the current CEO of the hospital, reflects on her time with Carson. “I’ve only been in this role for a year, but I was always aware of Tom’s support of the hospital,” she shares. “Years ago, when there began to be talk about restructuring some of the hospital’s operations, he was there, listening to staff and leadership about how it could impact the hospital. He really went to bat for us, meeting with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Shared Health to ensure that our voices were heard. He had a true understanding of how the hospital works and what it needs to be the best it can be.”
Daniel Lussier, the CEO of Réseau Compassion Network, echoes those sentiments. “Tom was such a fierce champion of everybody at St. Boniface Hospital,” he shares. “He had a deep, deep commitment to people, to the staff and the patients who were going through those doors every day.”
Aminot, for her part, will miss the way Carson brought openness and honesty to his role of board chair. “I loved working with him as an individual because he was so passionate,” she says. “You didn’t have to guess what Tom was thinking because he always said it. It was a breath of fresh air for me. I couldn’t have taken on this role without his support.”
Carson was also known for leading by example, and for setting expectations for the members of the board. “He strongly suggested to his board colleagues that we wanted 100% participation in contributing to the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation,” remembers Aminot with a smile. “Even a few weeks before he passed, he was working on another letter to encourage everyone to give what they could. And I know he was always reaching out to folks in the community to encourage them, too.”
Acting as board chair was just one of the ways that Carson gave back to those in his life and his community. “He was passionate about art and strongly supported Manitoba Artists in Healthcare,” reveals Aminot. “He was a family man, too. He talked about his children and grandkids a lot. He loved them deeply, you could tell. And you couldn’t have found a bigger Jets fan. Tom was retired but he certainly wasn’t slowing down.”
Lussier sees Carson’s commitment to art in healthcare settings as another example of why he was such a good fit for St. Boniface Hospital. “What makes for truly compassionate healthcare is the connection we have with each other,” he continues. “Tom just got it. Artists in Healthcare showed that we must care for the whole person, and that’s the spirit of our mission, too. Tom was a great leader and we were blessed to have him lead us through some tough times, like the pandemic.”
“When I heard that he had passed, my heart just broke,” concludes Aminot. “He and I had a short time together, but I feel very, very privileged to have learned from him and spent time with him. He will definitely be missed by many here at St. B.”