Beloved “patient’s doctor”: Passing of Dr. G. William N. Fitzgerald (1944-2023)

April 20, 2023 | Author: Royal College Staff

We are saddened by the passing of G. William N. Fitzgerald, CM, MD, FRCSC, Royal College President from 2008 to 2010, on April 17, 2023.

Dr. Fitzgerald is best remembered for his extraordinary and diverse general surgical practice over a vast area in northern Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec’s Lower North Shore. He was known widely during his career in St. Anthony, Newfoundland as the “patient’s doctor” for his tireless work putting the needs of patients before all else.

G. William N. Fitzgerald

“It was an honour to learn from Bill,” says Royal College Past-President Richard Reznick, MD, FRCSC, MEd, FACS, FRCSEd (hon), FRCSI (hon), FRCS (hon). “He was a champion of rural medicine and lifelong learning. As president, he worked tirelessly to advance many of the Royal College’s agendas, especially in promoting our work on Indigenous Health. He had an incredible sense of humour and he will be immensely missed.”

Dr. Fitzgerald became a Fellow of the Royal College in 1976 and served on the General Surgery Examination Board, the Annual Conference Committee, the Fellowship Affairs Committee and the Regional Advisory Committee for Atlantic Canada.

Dr. Fitzgerald maintained that learning from the doctors in St. Anthony – and learning of the great need for surgery and medicine outside of major metropolitan centres – changed the course of his life. He provided outstanding care in the area for more than 40 years, prompting the residents to put his name forward for the Order of Canada. He was invested as a Member in 2008.

In 2018, the Royal College acknowledged Dr. Fitzgerald’s outstanding achievements by naming him as the recipient of the James H. Graham Award of Merit.

Dr. Fitzgerald remained active in Royal College affairs following his presidency, serving as Chair of the Advisory Committee on International Affairs and as a member of the Board of Directors for Royal College Canada International.