BC medical history

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 45, No. 10, December 2003, Page 483 Editorials

Dr Phil Ashmore recently submitted a historical article to the BCMJ entitled “The early development of cardiac surgery in British Columbia.” This article, soon to be published in our Journal, provides a well-written retrospective of the origins and rapid development of cardiac surgery in BC to the early 80s. Dr Ashmore’s articulate description of the development of this surgical specialty—which, in its infancy was the darling of Hollywood script writers and described by many in the popular media of the day as a “medical marvel”—is an engrossing trip down BC’s own medical memory lane. It is a story of ingenuity, bravery, foresight, inventiveness, and eventually, enormous success.

There are many stories like Dr Ashmore’s, and they all seem to have the same basic theme of adventure, dedication, and exploration. There never seemed to be a lack of individuals in BC who were ready to step up and develop their own held-together-with-bailing-wire machinery which, in many instances, ensured that BC’s physicians and surgeons could be part of the genesis of progress. 

The importance of retrospective articles like Dr Ashmore’s is obvious to archivists, who are naturally interested in preserving history. Personally, I see retrospectives as a vitally important force in the creation and maintenance of a sense of belonging to something important, especially for our younger colleagues. Both purposes could be served if the BCMJ were to publish at least one retrospective from one of our professional divisions every year. The organizational logistics of this kind of project can be a little daunting, but the payoff in collegial approbation and service to the profession is well worth the investment.

So, who’s next? 


James A. Wilson, MD. BC medical history. BCMJ, Vol. 45, No. 10, December, 2003, Page(s) 483 - Editorials.

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