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Q&A with Galo Meliton

Toronto, March 22, 2016

By Melissa Di Costanzo

Galo Meliton and patient Dave McComiskey
Kidney transplant recipient Dave McComiskey (right) shares a smile with his hero: Renal Transplant Nurse Co-ordinator Galo Meliton. (Photo by Yuri Mararov)

Renal Transplant Nurse Co-ordinator Galo Meliton stumbled on nursing as a career after his family moved to Canada from the Philippines. One of 12 (his father said the family’s riches would be in children), Meliton has worked at St. Michael’s for almost 37 years. In honour of Kidney Month, Meliton shares some insight into his role.

Q: What has kept you at St. Michael’s?
The culture and the camaraderie. It’s a friendly atmosphere, and I have the best manager, Jonathan Fetros.

Q: What is a typical day like for you?
I help determine if potential kidney recipients are able to receive a donation. I work with their referring centres in ensuring their required testing is done. I run a pre-transplant class to help patients and their families learn more about kidney transplants. I was a urology nurse in a past life, so I have some urology-related roles, too (I teach men how to self-catheterize or to retrain their “lazy bladders” and I give injections to patients with prostate cancer). I organize events like a symposium every other year for renal transplant nurses and allied health disciplines. I organize travelling road shows, talking to the public about kidney transplantation. I am a steering committee member for the Transplant Companions Program, an educational tool for patients and their families considering transplantation, and I am the St. Michael’s lead for a high-school outreach initiative, talking about the importance of organ and kidney transplantation. I usually present with an organ recipient. The hair on the back of my neck still rises when I hear heart recipients talk about their experiences. They are amazing stories.

Q. What is the most rewarding part of your role?
Truly being able to help people the best way I can whatever small way I can. This is my dream job. I feel good that I will be able to be part of something good. I’ve been so lucky over the years, especially having had some great mentors.

Q: You are the 2005 recipient of the Karol Steinhouse Memorial Award from the Kidney Foundation of Canada and past president of the Ontario chapter of the International Transplant Nurses Society. What are three things most people don’t know about you?
I like ballroom dancing with my wife, Cecilia. I sing my heart out while I wait for the bus. I was a barboy (I opened up the bar and cut up limes) when I first came to Canada in 1977.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.