Origins of the Canadian School of Surgery
Canadian Journal of Surgery
Background: Since its inception 50 years ago, the Canadian Journal of Surgery has published articles under the banner "History of Canadian Surgery." Because no comprehensive history of surgery in this country has yet been written, these articles may provide its basis.
Method: The Canadian Journal of Surgery was searched from October 1957 to August 2007 for articles on the practice of surgery in Canada before 1957. Articles regarding the development of surgery in provinces, universities, hospitals and surgical specialty societies were included, as well as biographies and obituaries of surgeons.
Results: Thirty-six articles dealing with the lives of 57 Canadian surgeons were located. Three periods of Canadian surgery were covered: the French regime (1535–1759), the transition period (1759–1870) and the early modern period (1870–1945). The review shows that persistent efforts were made in Canada to develop surgical education and to regulate the practice of surgery. Isolation forced a spirit of adaptability that led to innovation and progress.
Conclusion: The practice of surgery in Canada today can be traced back to contributions made by pioneering surgeons over the entire history of modern Canada. An archive of materials related to the history of surgery in Canada is being created at www.historyofsurgery.ca to facilitate further research.