War and medicine

Andrew Padmos
November 8, 2018 | Author: Dr. Andrew Padmos

Dear colleagues,

War and medicine have a storied history.

As Dr. Jonathan Larmonth Meakins, OC, FRCSC, a member of our History and Heritage Advisory Committee, said, “Wartime is a crucible in which major advances are made.” These include advances in the treatment of infectious diseases, wound management and therapies, skin grafting techniques and more. It is not difficult to note how far we’ve come. Consider, for example, that physician and poet Dr. John McCrae died of pneumococcal pneumonia — something that is nowadays rarely fatal thanks to the discovery and industrialization of antibiotics.

Dr. Meakins recently led a research project to commemorate this year’s 100th anniversary of the end of World War One (1914-1918). He sought out information on the wartime service of the Royal College’s first four presidents, all of whom served during WWI with distinction.

In fact, Dr. Meakins’ own grandfather, Dr. Jonathan Campbell Meakins, was the Royal College’s inaugural President. He did some of the earliest research on post-traumatic stress disorder (at the time described as “soldier’s heart” or “shellshock”).

Beyond surgical and medical advances from war, postgraduate medical education in Canada made huge inroads post-WWI. This includes the incorporation of the Royal College in 1929 — but the formation of the Royal College was not without its setbacks.

Read the story online, along with short biographies of our first four Presidents:

Remembering our roots: WWI and the formation of the Royal College

Please let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in reading more stories about the Royal College’s past.

Andrew Padmos, BA, MD, FRCPC, FACP, FRCP
Royal College Chief Executive Officer


Photo: Dr. Jonathan Larmonth Meakins, OC, FRCSC, holds a photo of his grandfather, Dr. Jonathan Campbell Meakins, FRCPC, the Royal College’s first President (1929-1931)

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Avatar Euan Frew | November 9, 2018
Yes, I would like to read more on this topic. WWI is a very frightening example of human folly conditions were horrific. From a medical perspective I am particularly interested in how they coped with infection in their post operative management. There may be lessons to be learned as we face increasing problems with antibiotic resistance.
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