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Local doc soars into the 'wild' blue yonder (8 photos)

Dr. Paul Wild, Sault Area Hospital physician, flies his floatplane from North Shore home to treat patients in hospital emergency department

Dr. Paul Wild is an interesting, witty, adventurous and dedicated man.

He is a former soldier who treats wounds, a man who dreamed of being an air force pilot who now enjoys flying his own float plane and a dedicated physician who, though no longer living in Sault Ste. Marie, returns to the community to treat patients year-round, flying his plane to work during the summer months.

After medical school, he worked for a year as a doctor in his native England before coming to Canada in 2006, living and working in the Sault and treating patients in the Sault Area Hospital (SAH) emergency department fast track unit.

He moved to British Columbia in 2014, where he practices medicine at a walk-in clinic in a small town north of Vancouver.

“It’s not particularly busy there, so that’s one reason why I keep working at the hospital here. I enjoy it. It’s always busy and interesting,” Wild said, speaking to SooToday.

Wild travels by Air Canada to our area and lives in a North Shore home, from where, from May to November in true 'Action Man' fashion, flies his plane to a dock on the St. Marys River and bicycles his way to SAH. 

“I still come here pretty much full-time, shift wise, per month, and my wife and two girls come here in the summer, which is nice,” Wild said.

“I enjoy people and I enjoy science, so the perfect combination of the two is medicine.”

Wild said he especially enjoys working in SAH’s emergency department fast track unit (separate from the main emergency area, where patients with more serious illnesses or injuries are treated).

“It’s a very different skill set in fast track, dealing with a lot of minor illnesses, but at the same time always looking out for those things that potentially could be more serious. There’s lots of suturing, broken bones, the elderly, young children. Fast track suits me because I’m pretty high-paced. I like to run around and be busy all day, so it’s the perfect place for me.”

“I like the people here, the lakes, the cottage lifestyle which is something you really can’t have in a lot of places now because of the cost of living. And, being fortunate enough to have a little float plane, I get to see the absolute beauty of the area from the sky,” Wild said.

Wild’s Piper PA-18 Super Cub has won awards, including a Silver Lindy award for best float plane and a plaque for best fabric at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh, an annual airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Wild is quick to credit a local air mechanic for that.

“I was very fortunate to have Merv Punkari, an experienced air mechanic who used to be the lead mechanic for Air-Dale, rebuild the aircraft, and he finished in 2016. Merv did an absolutely beautiful job.”

Wild has been a pilot since 2004.

“Flight means freedom to me,” he said.

“Here, especially, you can take off and fly 15 or 20 minutes north of the city and see things and just have peace and quiet. When you do a high volume job like I do, dealing with lots of people, it’s nice to have an outlet that gives you peace and quiet.”

“I always wanted to be a fighter pilot in the air force, and that obviously didn’t work out so I make up for it with my floatplane,” he chuckled.

Wild was born and raised in the county of Cumbria, in northern England.

“It’s a beautiful area with lots of lakes, similar to here, although funnily enough there are only about two floatplanes in the whole of the United Kingdom, probably because of legislation.”

Wild served in Britain’s Royal Marines for five years but didn’t have to engage in combat while serving in the military.

“The worst thing that happened to me was I burnt my finger on a tea bag,” he laughed.

After leaving the Royal Marines, Wild attended the University of Exeter and Leicester-Warwick Medical School before eventually arriving in Canada.

“This is my ‘half-home,’” Wild said of the Sault and area.

“I lived here for eight years before, and for the foreseeable future, and as far as I’m concerned for many years ahead, this is a job I’ll really enjoy. As far as I’m concerned, I’d like to work here forever.”


Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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