Dr Henry Hildebrand 1931–2008

Dr Henry Hildebrand died on 13 February 2008 a few heartbeats short of Valentine’s Day. He was born in 1931, the eighth of 11 children. He grew up in a rural Manitoba community in an environment where aspirations to higher education were rare. Henry was committed to becoming a physician at a young age and was single-minded in his pursuit. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1956 with his MD and completed his internship year at St. Boniface Hospital. After a year of surgical residency in Cleveland and an additional year of tropical medicine and language training in Belgium, Henry, along with his wife, Hilda, and their two young sons, Lloyd and Ralph, went to the Belgian Congo with the intent to work as a missionary doctor for an indefinite period of time.

Civil war in 1959 cut short their time there and the family, after less than a year, was forced to flee the country. Henry returned to the Congo after the safe establishment of the rest of the family in Manitoba. He spent a very difficult 6 months trying to help in ways medical before he himself found it too dangerous to continue his work there and was forced to return to Canada.

Henry had served as a porter on the CPR during his medical school days. His summer work took him to Vancouver where he later chose to bring his family and complete his residency in surgery. Their daughter, Sharon, was born in 1963. He succeed­ed in obtaining his FRCS (surgery) in 1966. Through the ensuing years he became particularly interested in the subspecialty of vascular surgery and in 1983, together with his long-term partner, Henry Litherland, and others, became a member of the Royal College fraternity of vascular surgeons. They developed a curriculum and took turns giving special lectures in their chosen fields. When exam time came, all the Vancouver candidates passed and became charter members of the vascular surgery group in Vancouver.

Henry was a dedicated surgeon and participated fully as a teacher and researcher. He was recognized in the operating room as a confident and efficient practitioner with a strong sense of ethics and compassion for his patients. One of his residents describes him thusly: “He had so many fine qualities for a young resident like me to wish to emulate. His surgical skill was peerless. A rare surgical athlete, he possessed speed, precision, and deftness of touch. He was the conductor in the operating room and all eyes were on his movements and subtle gestures.”

After his official retirement at the age of 69 he went back to Africa, Kenya this time, and served as a surgeon in a mission hospital in Kijabe, where he did about 400 surgeries in his 6 months there, including trauma, urology, and orthopaedics in addition to general surgery. Henry became particularly concerned about the many young women with pelvic damage from difficult deliveries. These poor women were commonly ostracized from their communities and suffered immense personal humiliation. He established a fund for vesico-vaginal fistula surgeries that continues as a successful program to this day.

During his tenure as a surgeon at the Vancouver General Hospital and Shaughnessy Hospital, Henry was known as a snappy dresser. He heralded the official beginning of spring for hospital staff when he wore his white patent leather shoes and powder blue suit. He also enjoyed his vehicles and at one time was the proud owner of a 1970 Charger, orange in color, with a black bumblebee stripe and a 383-cubic-inch, 4-barrel muscle engine lurking under the hood. In his fifties, he started motorcycling in order to keep up to his sons and soon was perched on top of a 1986 Kawasaki crotch rocket, 1000 cc and 117 hp, which could beat his Charger off the line handily.

He leaves behind his beloved wife and soul mate, Hilda, his children, Lloyd, Ralph, and Sharon, and eight grandchildren, of whom he was so proud.

He will be dearly missed. He was loved.

—Lloyd Hildebrand, MD
Brentwood Bay

Lloyd Hildebrand, MD,. Dr Henry Hildebrand 1931–2008. BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 1, January, February, 2009, Page(s) 32 - 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

Leave a Reply