The Story of Robert Liston and his Surgical Skill

Dr. Robert Liston was a resolute gentleman, known for his incredible ability to perform surgeries at an alarmingly fast pace in order to reduce the pain and risk of shock and blood loss for the patient. Before anaesthetics were introduced into surgical practice, Liston’s speed often meant the difference between life and death for the person on the operating table. ⁠

Liston was known as a skilled surgeon with an argumentative personality, due in part to his strong convictions and deep care for his patients. He had a strong sense of decency and was not afraid to call out his fellow surgeons and teachers – and even engage in physical confrontations – if he suspected they had behaved indecently. ⁠ … More The Story of Robert Liston and his Surgical Skill

The Story of Dudley Ward and his Dingbat Calendars

Remembered by so many for his fantastical creatures known as “Dingbats”, William Dudley Burnett Ward was an accomplished English-Canadian illustrator. His Dingbat characters, which combined cartoon art and surrealism, began appearing on advertising calendars for the Charles E. Frosst pharmaceutical company in 1915, and continued under different artists until they were discontinued in 1996 because it was decided that they represented unfair competition for other pharmaceutical brands. He also acted as an illustrator and cartoonist in England and Canada for many years. Today, in addition to the many Dingbat calendars in the collections of the Museum of Health Care, his works can be found in the National Gallery of Canada and the AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario⁠. … More The Story of Dudley Ward and his Dingbat Calendars

The Story of Dr. Grasett and the Typhus Epidemic

Dr. G. R. Grasett practiced in Amherstburg, Upper Canada (Ontario) and was Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Essex Light Infantry during the Upper Canada Rebellion. He fell ill with typhus within two weeks of working at the Emigrant Hospital, and passed away on July 16th, 1847, at the age of thirty-six. He was remembered as a compassionate, devoted doctor, and is commemorated today at Grasett Park in Toronto, which was built on the same spot where the fever sheds were, and is managed by the Canada Ireland Foundation. … More The Story of Dr. Grasett and the Typhus Epidemic

The Story of Santa Claus and his Coca-Cola connection

So why does the Museum of Health Care have bottles of Coca-Cola in its collections? When Coca-Cola was first sold in the late-nineteenth century, it was marketed as a patent medicine which could cure headache, neuralgia, melancholy, hysteria, morphine addiction, and more. This was because it contained cocaine, from the coca leaves from which it was made, and caffeine, from kola nuts. It was not until around 1903-1904 that the company removed cocaine from the popular drink due to changes in laws surrounding the drug. … More The Story of Santa Claus and his Coca-Cola connection

The Story of Nancy Malloy and her noble sacrifice

It was in Chechnya in 1996 that Malloy would lose her life, along with five others, as she slept in the hospital compound at Novye Atagi. A peace treaty had recently been signed between Russia and Chechnya, but tensions were still high after two years of warfare. A group of armed men (later found out to be Russians on a mission gone wrong), entered the hospital and killed Nancy Malloy and her colleagues.  … More The Story of Nancy Malloy and her noble sacrifice

The Story of Viola Allan Abrum and her military commission

Viola Allan Abrum, born on June 9th, 1911, graduated from the Brockville General Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1933. After graduating, she worked as a private duty nurse before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. From 1941 to 1945, Captain (Matron) Viola Allan worked as a Nursing Sister in France and Belgium, as well as in England where she took care of Canadian prisoners of war at the No. 9 Unit in Horsham. As a Lieutenant, she received the military commission in 1943. After the war, in 1946, she was decorated as an Associate of the Royal Red Cross. … More The Story of Viola Allan Abrum and her military commission

The History of Temporary Military Hospitals in Kingston

Kingston was especially hard-hit by these events compared to other towns. Even during a pandemic just over a hundred years ago, Kingston served the same role of regional health care centre as it did during the COVID pandemic. As the largest city between Ottawa and Toronto, Kingston’s healthcare facilities have always serviced a particularly large surrounding area. On top of this, Andrew Belyea, a previous Margaret Angus Research Fellow for the Museum, notes that Kingston was a military hub around the time of the First World War, with a very large number of soldiers stationed in or otherwise filtered through town (find his article here). This created a larger-than-expected need for hospital care when the war ended and soldiers began returning to Canada – a need that would be difficult to meet. … More The History of Temporary Military Hospitals in Kingston