NEWS
12/03/2016 17:52 EST | Updated 12/04/2017 00:12 EST

Ontario medical community reeling from death of respected physician

The Ontario medical community is reeling from the death of a respected family physician.

Toronto neurosurgeon Mohammed Shamji has been charged with first-degree murder in her death, but due to a publication ban, CBC Toronto cannot identify the physician who died.

Death met with shock, grief

Her death has been met with "widespread shock and grief," said Dr. Nadia Alam, a family physician and anesthesiologist in Georgetown, Ont.

"She was a big part of various physician Facebook forums, so many docs knew of her, if not her directly," Alam said. "And many enjoyed her sense of humour, keen intelligence and kindness." 

Alam recalled meeting her during an Ontario Medical Association council meeting in Toronto this fall.

Alam sat with her during the meeting, and later at dinner. Alam recalled her storytelling — she told anecdotes about how a tweet of hers had gone viral, and shared funny stories about her time in medical school — and Alam was struck by how "lovely she was, how bright, vibrant and joyful."

Alam said she "was excited to have begun a new friendship with her."

That friendship cut short by the woman's death, which police believe was a "deliberate act."

Those who knew her hope to remember her life and work, not the tragic circumstances surrounding her death.

She was "adored by patients," said Toronto physician Dr. Allyson Koffman, who called herself a former colleague and close friend of the physician.

The physician was an avid runner who tried to be the "perfect wife and mother," and practiced what she preached when it came to healthy living, Koffman said.

'She was witty and lovely'

Friends are also remembering the physician for her constant smile and happy-go-lucky personality.

Essex, Ont., resident Brendan Marc Byrne told CBC Toronto that he and the physician went to high school together, and kept in touch through Facebook. 

"She was brilliant," he said. "She was witty and lovely and will be missed."

Farheen Imtiaz, whose son used to go to the same school as the physician's children, said the pair used to "girl talk" when volunteering together at school events, like pizza lunches and the Terry Fox Run.

The physician had started taking martial arts classes and was an active poster on social media, Imtiaz said.

But it's her personality Imtiaz remembers most.

"She was such a loving person in every role, whether it was a doctor, being a friend, being a mother," Imtiaz said. "She adored every second of motherhood."