Dr C. Ed McDonnell, 1923–2014

portrait of the late Dr. McDonnell
Dr Ed McDonnell’s death on 2 February 2014 marked the passing of a gentleman who touched many people’s lives, including mine, in numerous ways.

He was born in Vancouver, 22 November 1923 at St. Paul’s Hospital. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia and his medical degree at McGill University in 1951. His education and life experience were further enhanced by his wartime service as a teenage navigator in a Lancaster bomber on raids over Germany. At McGill he met Shirley, the love of his life, and as newlyweds they moved to Vanderhoof, BC, to experience real medicine. Next they moved to Edmonton where Dr McDonnell completed an internal medicine residency and he and Shirley started their family of three children: Brady, Tara, and Chip.

The rest of his career was at St. Paul’s Hospital, where I had the privilege of knowing him as teacher, physician, colleague, and patient. He excelled in every role and was admired by all. He was a role model for how to be a good and caring physician to hundreds—perhaps thousands—of students and residents.

At St. Paul’s Hospital he led the division of rehabilitation and was head of the geriatric program until 1988, also directing medical services at two long-term care facilities in downtown Vancouver. During his time at the hospital he was chief of staff, director of medical education, and chair of the Medical Ethics Committee. He was also instrumental in establishing the St. Paul’s Hospital Archives, leading the celebration of St. Paul’s 100th anniversary. His teaching career spanned over 25 years and he was named professor emeritus in 1989.

Away from St. Paul’s Dr McDonnell was active in the Vancouver Medical Association, was a longstanding member of the BC Medical Journal Editorial Board, and was chair of the Doctors of BC (then BCMA) Museum and Archives Committee from 1977 to 2002. His love of history led him to write over 40 papers on the history of doctors, institutions, organizations, and medical practice in British Columbia. He was made an honorary lifetime member of the Archives Association of British Columbia and received the William B. Spaulding Certificate of Merit in recognition of his written work. Dr McDonnell was also honored in many other ways. He received a lifetime membership in the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, the David M. Bachop Gold Medal for Distinguished Medical Service, the VMA Prince of Good Fellows award, a senior membership in the CMA, and an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the YMCA.

I first met Dr McDonnell when I was a resident in 1970 and was immediately impressed by his knowledge, his accessibility, and his warmth to patients and colleagues alike. When I needed an internist, who else would I call? He was kindness personified. Then, as a relatively junior staff member, I had the privilege of being his anesthetist; he was the perfect patient. Quite a few years later, while working on Doctors of BC centenary/archival matters, I learned more about his broad interests and depth of historical knowledge. He was indeed knowledgeable, wise, and witty—qualities I know were appreciated by all who knew him. We have lost a wonderful and complete human being.
—Dorothy Woodhouse, MD

Dr McDonnell was a respected member of the BCMJ Editorial Board, serving from 1978 to 2000. He will be missed. —ED

Dorothy Woodhouse, MD,. Dr C. Ed McDonnell, 1923–2014. BCMJ, Vol. 56, No. 56, July, August, 2014, Page(s) 289 - Obituaries.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Sharon M. Fluney says: reply

Years later, I still remember Dr. C.E. McDonnell from when I worked at St. Paul's Hospital. He was a wonderful Doctor; was a caring and thorough person. May the memories of him live on in our lives.

Glenn McAtee says: reply

My Uncle Ed was a great physician, avid historian and a good example of a gentleman for me.

Leave a Reply