After 64 Years at Humber River Hospital, Dr. Robert McMillin is Leaving Quite the Legacy

June 25, 2019

64 years.

That’s how long Dr. Robert McMillin served Humber River Hospital’s community before retiring earlier this year at 92 years old.

“When I started, Humber’s Church Street site only had 60 beds, two operating rooms, and two delivery rooms,” remembers Dr. McMillin fondly, “The city was still paving the road in front of the hospital – It was a dirt road!”

Dr. McMillin is the longest standing family physician at Humber River Hospital, but his legacy does not stop there. He was the youngest and longest running Chief of Staff (from 1965-1991), he was Chief of Family Practice for 5 years, he has delivered over 1,000 Humber babies, he helped establish and Chair the Research Ethics Board Committee, and mentored countless medical students.

Dr. McMillin and his wife Judith met at Humber River Hospital. Judith was a nurse in the Surgical Program.

He and his wife Judith met at Humber River Hospital. Judith was a nurse in our Surgical Program for many years. They have been married for 45 years, have 7 children, and 16 grandchildren.

Up until four years ago, Dr. McMillin always visited his patients in-hospital and in-home. One of his favourite memories from his years of healthcare was discharging a patient who had stayed at the hospital for 56 days in the early 1990’s:

“He told me that despite some setbacks and long hospital stay, what kept him smiling was the fact that I visited him every day,” says Dr. McMillin. “I didn’t miss a single day while he was there.”

Over his six decades at Humber River Hospital, healthcare technology has changed quite a bit.

Dr. McMillin remembers the invention of the CT scan in the 1970’s:

“When I heard that CT scans would only be used at the downtown teaching hospitals,” he says. “I was furious!”

Dr. McMillin knew that without CT scanners, community hospitals would fall behind. He and a group of physicians traveled to Ohio and purchased a CT machine that was for sale, funded by Humber River Hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary. That’s how Humber started doing CT scans for patients, including patients from Etobicoke Hospital and North Western (which later became part of Humber).

“And when electronic medical records were introduced, I jumped into it both feet in,” says Dr. McMillin. “It saved me time. It was helpful to call anything up and compare results.”

So what will retirement look like for Dr. McMillin?

“I loved going to work,” he says. “But I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and reading lots.”