Fondly known by many as “Paddy," Dr. Mark touched the lives of countless people across the program, and will be deeply missed.
Dr. Mark was a physician the Nanaimo Forensic Regional Clinic and the Nanaimo Correctional Centre, and had recently stepped into the role of interim medical director at Correctional Health Services.
Throughout her career, Dr. Mark worked tirelessly to help marginalized people through her efforts to transform health care and tackle stigma associated with people with mental health and substance use issues, particularly those who had come into contact with the law. She used her voice extensively in the media and was an inspiration to everyone she met, encouraging others to advocate for marginalized groups.
Since the news of her passing, kind words and fond memories have been shared around our organization with Dr. Mark being described by colleagues as compassionate, warm, wise, dedicated, caring, and a ferocious advocate for clients and patients, to name a few. We have shared some of these moving tributes below.
We extend our deepest condolences to Dr. Mark's family and friends, and will continue to honour her legacy through the work we do at Correctional Health Services and beyond.
"Paddy took on her work with joy and verve. I call her a ferocious advocate; she was never afraid to use her voice to help marginalized people. As well as being a fine addiction medicine doctor, I always remember Paddy having exquisite phraseology. She was Irish and had a beautiful command of the English language. She would say things like 'there's a lot of emotional turmoil in the underbrush' when talking about discontent, she was so well spoken. Paddy had a deep appreciation of music and an unparalleled love for people and animals. In fact, every year she put together the Nanaimo SPCA calendar as a fundraiser. It was a huge amount of work, but that was Paddy — advocating for people and animals, always. She loved this so much that one day she came home with a rescue dog, a labradoodle named Bertie. Paddy was also a keen gardener; she and her husband enjoyed tending their impressive garden filled with beautiful rhododendrons. Her dedication extended to all living things, to people, dogs, and plants. Paddy has taught me and many of us to use our voices for good, to advocate, and never to be complacent. That was the basis of her existence." Dr. Peg Robertson, physician and interim medical director, Correctional Health Services.
"Paddy's emails always had this tag at the end: 'For evil to triumph it requires only that good people do nothing,' a statement by 18th century Irish politician and philosopher, Edmund Burke. This quote helped me understand Paddy's readiness to confront bad behavior in people with power, particularly over those less fortunate, and her fierce defense of patients with complicated lives who lived with addiction at our low-barrier clinic in downtown Nanaimo. Being in Paddy's energetic presence was like leaning into a warm Chinook wind, and I am left suddenly staggering and off balance in the sudden quiet space of her absence. She was deservedly loved and respected." Dr. Ric Roe, physician, Nanaimo Correctional Centre.
"When I first met Paddy I was floored with her enthusiasm and spirit. She always made me and everyone around her laugh because of her effortless ability to provide new and alternative perspectives. Even if anyone disagreed with her, they always respected her opinion. She spent her life helping others through listening and caring. Her dedication to her work was immeasurable. Paddy constantly commented on how much she wanted to improve care across all her areas of work, including Correctional Health Services. If I could describe her in one word it would be effervescent; a lively, sparkling and high spirited woman, someone that everyone knew as 'bubbling with enthusiasm.' We will miss her dearly." Dr. Vijay Seethapathy, chief medical officer, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services.
"It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Dr. Paddy Mark, our friend and colleague providing medical care to the residents of the Nanaimo Correctional Centre for more than 10 years. Paddy was a fierce advocate for those in need, a caring and compassionate physician with a no-nonsense, and often spirited approach. It was always a pleasure to spend a few minutes chatting with Paddy, sharing a laugh, or talking about improving access to care for her patients. Our hearts go out her family — such a heartbreaking loss. She was part of our work family, and will be truly missed." Teri DuTemple, warden, Nanaimo Correctional Centre.
"Paddy was a one-of-a-kind human being. She dedicated her life to helping others and took a special interest in our vulnerable population. She didn't care about economic status; she saw everyone as equal, as a human, and that is how she treated everyone. She always wanted to do what was best for her clients. I had a very special relationship with Paddy inside and outside work at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre, and my heart is truly broken. Paddy and I worked alongside each other for the last 10 years, and she would refer to herself as my surrogate mother. She cared deeply for the staff and clients at NCC — and all across the province for that matter — and was an integral part of our Correctional Health Services family. She was a mentor, a leader, and to all of us, a friend. If we can all take a page out of Paddy's book and strive to be half the human she was, the world will be a much better place. We hope to continue on her legacy and keep her memory alive. May she rest in peace and watch over us. We miss you beyond words, Paddy." Nina Padjen, health services manager, Nanaimo Correctional Centre.
"Paddy has been a friend, colleague, and mentor for most of my medical career. She has been a tireless patient advocate and dedicated physician. Paddy was a tremendous support in my role as medical director and was there to support the service when I stepped down. Sadly, Paddy has passed away but her spirit lives on. My sincere condolences go to all her colleagues, friends and family. She lived life to the fullest and touched so many of us. I will miss her terribly." Nader Sharifi, physician and former medical director, Correctional Health Services.
"Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Paddy Mark but I have heard so many good things about her. Many physicians and staff speak fondly of her caring nature, her passion and unwavering commitment to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. In meetings she was a no-nonsense person who said what was on her mind. I appreciated her sincere honesty and forthrightness; she didn't mince words. Paddy left her mark on many people and will be sorely missed by all. I extend my deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues." Lynn Pelletier, vice president, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services.