In our medical lives, perhaps our most valued assets are our colleagues. In rural general practice few are more valued than those in obstetrics. We will always be grateful for the privilege of having worked with Dr Johannes (Johs) Asfeldt.
Johs attended medical school in Copenhagen, class of 1959, and practised there and in the US, Canada, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe over a 41-year career. He practised in urban centres in Missouri and North Dakota and in solo rural posts in Newfoundland (Grenfell Mission based in St. Anthony), Yukon, Minnesota, Alberta, and BC. His later career was punctuated by eight lengthy trips to African hospitals to volunteer and teach. Throughout, he remained a dedicated father, husband, and grandfather, Rotarian, pilot, and Christian. Johs had a lifelong commitment to women’s health in underserviced areas and he was as comfortable in the left seat of his beloved plane (C-GWEU) as he was in the OR and delivery suite. Theologically liberal, he respected both life and autonomy, and served wholeheartedly wherever he had the opportunity.
We’d like to share a story from his time in Dawson Creek to help you appreciate Johs. Typically, he would be called in by an anxious and exhausted GP at 3:00 a.m., and through the -40 °C weather he came to attend an obstetrical emergency. Always prompt, a careful consult was provided and cesarean would be recommended and OR called. Five minutes later he would be fast asleep and 20 minutes later scrubbed and ready to go. How we appreciated his calm and confidence. Twenty years later, after dementia took hold, he still enjoyed reading his obstetrics texts and asking his devoted wife, Janeen, about the call schedule.
Small communities around the world benefit from dedicated physicians and surgeons. We will cherish the memory of Johs Asfeldt, an exemplar of small-town obstetrics.
—Steve Ashwell, MD
—Ulrike Meyer, MD