Close this search box.

2023 V-Red Honorable Mention

Mick Jutras, MD

Family Medicine
Saskatoon, Canada

It was a beautiful day in June 1996 when Sharon Bourassa was walking down the hallway at work. She was greeted by one of the physicians, Dr. Mick Jutras, who was working in the physical therapy clinic that day. He stopped her and said, “Do you know you have a stridor? Are you ok?” Stridor is a high-pitched sound someone makes when air can’t flow through the lungs smoothly because it’s hard to breathe.

Sharon had been unwell since Oct 30, 1995, and like many people with GPA, she had been a told different things about the bleeding from her ears/nose, fatigue (and now stridor) for about eight months. Dr. Jutras told Sharon that she should not ignore this (she wasn’t).

“I asked him if he would see me, and I am forever grateful for that chance meeting in the hallway and an appointment the next day,” Sharon said. Dr. Jutras referred her to a rheumatologist, and at age 40, she was given a confirmed GPA diagnosis through bloodwork and a biopsy. At the time, it took six weeks to get the results from the bloodwork because it was sent out of the province. When diagnosed from the biopsy in August, she was told she would probably have three or four months to live if the treatment plan didn’t work.

Sharon’s husband searched for medical information in the library. While Sharon was in the hospital, she got a name and number for Marilyn Sampson. She called Marilyn as soon as she was released, and Marilyn sent her a package of information and pamphlets to share with doctors’ offices and hospitals. Sharon attended VF conferences to learn more and was impressed by Dr. Nancy Allen, whom she consulted with and developed a strategy after further bloodwork and urinalysis.

“Dr. Jutras has continued to quarterback my care since that ‘chance’ meeting. He has supported my decision to get a second opinion on the treatment plan (in the early years I was treated with cyclophosphamide for 18 months) and continues to challenge me today.” Sharon lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and turns 67 this year.