Dr G. Barrie Purves, 1942–2016

Dr G. Barrie Purves

Dr Barrie Purves died 11 March 2016 from complications of multiple myeloma for which he had been successfully treated for nearly 14 years. He is survived by his wife, Sherrill Purves; three daughters; and four grandchildren.

Dr Purves graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1967 and, after interning at Chicago Cook County Hospital, moved to BC to do his residency in neurosurgery at Vancouver General Hospital/UBC Hospital, which he completed in 1975. Dr Purves was active on the committee that negotiated the first PARI contract for UBC residents. He then joined Dr Brian Hunt at Lions Gate Hospital and together they built a busy practice in North Vancouver, which extended to include Burnaby with active privileges at Burnaby General Hospital. They maintained full coverage of these services with a 1-in-2 call for 12 years before they were joined by a third neurosurgeon. Dr Purves also found time to serve as head of the Department of Surgery at Lions Gate Hospital, then chief of staff at Lions Gate Hospital in the 1980s, and as the North Shore representative for Doctors of BC from 1982–84.

In 1992, frustrated by the lack of resources to treat the neurosurgery patients in BC, Dr Purves left the province to join three neurosurgeons in a neurosurgery group in Sioux City, Iowa. He worked there at two hospitals (Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke’s Medical Center) and then played an important role in establishing a Speciality Surgical Center in North Sioux City, South Dakota. His interpersonal skills were also critical for establishing a multidisciplinary group practice called the Center for Neurosciences and Spine. He retired from that practice in 2004 after 2 years of treatment for multiple myeloma.

Fortunately Dr Purves was able to enjoy another 12 years of pursuing his hobbies and friendships, which included a passion for good food and wine, travelling the world to see the wine-growing regions, teaching neurosurgery for 1 month for each of 3 years in Indonesia with the international group FIENS, hunting and building, and enjoying his grandchildren as they arrived.

Dr Purves is remembered by patients, friends, and family as a caring, competent, and compassionate man who enjoyed life with a twinkle in his eye, and who endured the trials of his medical treatments for many years with grace and fortitude.
—Sherrill Purves, MD
North Vancouver
—Brian Hunt, MD
North Vancouver

Sherrill Purves, MD, Brian M. Hunt, MD. Dr G. Barrie Purves, 1942–2016. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 7, September, 2016, Page(s) 396-397 - Obituaries.

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Lisa McCardle says: reply

i don't know how i stumbled upon this article about Dr. Purves but i am glad i did! i live in Sioux City and Dr. Purves did my back surgery at CNOS in 2003. i was told it was close to one of the last ones he did (?) and i am so thankful that i was lucky enough to have him do it for me. That was 17 years ago and my lower back is still doing great! i barely knew him but i am thankful every day of my life for him and his skills. i have often wondered where he was practicing or how he was doing with his own health, i knew he was battling multiple myeloma around the time of my surgery, Jan 2003.
I just wanted his family to know how much he is still appreciated by me and i am sure many others who were lucky enough to have had a talented surgeon like him. It is because of him that i am able to be as healthy as i am today... my heart goes out to you for the loss of your dear husband, father, and grandfather. You were very lucky to have had him in your lives, as was i, for the short moment that he touched my life he improved it.
Very Sincerely, Lisa McCardle, Sioux City, Iowa.

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