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Local pain clinic renamed to honour Kelowna doctor

Dr. Bill Nelems, 77, passed away at his farm in Coldstream, B.C. on April 1, 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Okanagan-Zambia Health Initiative
August 30, 2017 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA – A local clinic is being renamed to honour a popular and much-loved surgeon who died earlier this year.

Dr. Bill Nelems had worked at the Okanagan Interventional Pain Clinic in the Pandosy area since 2013. Over that time his coworkers and staff came to see him as someone who genuinely cared for others and put in the work to improve countless lives.

Dr. Paul Etheridge describes him as “an awesome man.”

“We were all very fortunate to work with him and learn from him,” he says.

He died April 1 at his farm in Coldstream near Vernon at the age of 77.

Etheridge says their clinic will now be called the Bill Nelems Pain and Research Centre in his honour.

“The decision was actually made before he passed away,” he says. “We were talking about it six months before.”

The Okanagan Interventional Pain Clinic on Raymer Avenue has been renamed the Bill Nelems Pain and Research Centre.
The Okanagan Interventional Pain Clinic on Raymer Avenue has been renamed the Bill Nelems Pain and Research Centre.
Image Credit:

Over his career, Dr. Nelems, who was B.C.’s first thoracic surgeon, was recognized for his many contributions to Canadian health care. In 2009 he received the Award of Excellence in Medical Achievement from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. and he performed Canada’s first lung transplant.

Etheridge says his impact on the community went beyond medicine.

“He was very inspirational with the way that he practiced and the way that he cared,” he says.

The Bill Nelems Pain and Research Centre will continue to operate out of their location on Raymer Avenue until the spring of 2019 when they will move into a new building nearby. Work has already begun on a new logo and signage.

“We wanted to honour him even when he was alive for his amazing ability to move a group of doctors towards a better vision of the pain clinic,” Etheridge says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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