Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame: Dr. Norman Bethune

Dr. Norman Bethune
Born: March 3, 1890, Gravenhurst, Ontario
Died: November 12, 1939
Education: M.D. - University of Toronto, 1916
Category: Mobile Blood

In 1890, Norman Bethune was born in Gravenhurst, Ontario. He went to the University of Toronto, where his education was interrupted when he enlisted as a stretcher bearer in World War I. He received his M.D. in 1916. Dr. Bethune's impact on medicine can be categorized into three distinct areas. Bethune wrote extensively on the development of new surgical instruments, helping to establish a body of work that would be an essential reference for any surgeon.

In 1936, while living in Montreal, Bethune proposed a universal health care system for Canada. Although the suggestion was not readily accepted, Bethune's good works abroad and compelling recommendations would eventually find a place in the Canadian medical system. And finally, Bethune is probably most remembered as being the first to introduce the mobile blood bank to the battlefield, where he performed countless blood transfusions in the midst of heavy fighting. A doctor to the very end, Bethune died of blood poisoning in 1939, while ministering to a Chinese Army. Canada remembers Bethune as a medical genius, China reveres him as a saint.

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