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Rourke interest in urology started during his medical residency. As a resident he saw the patients with urethral strictures a narrowing of the urethra that prevents normal urination visit the emergency room every few months.

“We would do these procedures that don really help the urethral stricture problem and I thought there has to be a better way,” said Rourke. “Having a stricture is almost like a urologic death sentence. You going to be in and out of the urology office or the emergency room for the rest of your life.”

Rourke learned reconstructive urology during a fellowship in Virginia in 2001 03. He has since helped the University of Alberta Hospital become a hub for urethral reconstruction surgery in western Canada, where more than 1,200 reconstructions have been performed the most in any facility in Canada.

Harvey Marchand, 73, underwent urethral reconstruction surgery in 2014 because scar tissue in his urethra affected his ability to urinate. The scar tissue was from an infection that occurred after Marchand had prostate surgery to remove cancer.

Rourke performed two surgeries on Marchand. The first fixed the stricture and the urinary blockage, but Marchand then lost the ability to control his urination.

“I always had to pay attention and watch out for overflow,” said Marchand,
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who used creativity to mask accidents, including one that happened while he was out shopping.

Once he got to a washroom, Marchand splashed the front of his T shirt with water and blamed his wet clothes on an overflowing sink.

“The experience makes you stronger. It gets less embarrassing.”

In the second surgery a year later, Rourke inserted a mechanical valve system in his urethra so Marchand could regain urinary control. That allowed the retired firefighter to return to his work and activities, including helping fight the Fort McMurray wildfire and cycling.

“There are a lot of men who have this problem,” said Marchand. “If I can help one other guy, hopefully more, but even one,
polo turtleneck Edmonton doctor hopes to remove stigma around men
talking about this is all worth it.”