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Dr. John Semple: What it’s like to be a team doctor on Mount Everest

Mount Everest (Credit: iStock)
Mount Everest (Credit: iStock)

In this article

  • Recruitment as team doctor and impressions of the mountain
  • How Dr. Semple prepared to be a team doctor on Everest
  • Common health problems in high altitude climbing and treatments
  • Challenges for Dr. Semple’s team on Everest and outcomes
  • Studying Everest - from mortality patterns to global warming

Mount Everest holds enduring appeal. The tallest mountain in the world, it draws hundreds of climbers a year. Not all make it to the summit; not all make it home. The conditions are extreme and the toll on the human body is acute.

In 2003, climbing enthusiast and surgeon, John L. Semple, MD, FRCSC, was offered the opportunity to serve as a team doctor for a British Everest Expedition.

He took it.

Fast-forward two years to 2005 and Dr. Semple — who had previously summited peaks in South America, Western Canada, East Africa and Asia — made his first trip to Everest; trekking up the North side of the mountain as far as the North Col (about 23,000 feet) with a team of eight climbers, four Sherpas and a cook.

But forget the sublime vision you have of pristine wilderness. While undoubtedly beautiful, even 12 years ago, Everest was crowded.

“Everest is a circus,” he said, quoting estimates of about 400 climbers on the North side in 2005 (the route his team took via Tibet) and 600 more attempting the summit from the South side (via Nepal).

“It’s a very exotic place to go to. It’s a great trek up to Base Camp. It’s quite high but you have a lot of communication equipment up there now and there are clinics run by volunteers; gosh, they even have bakeries at Base Camp on the South side now, so there are a lot of people.”

Dr. Semple in 2005 on the North Col with tents burried in snow (Photo: Dr. John Semple) Dr. Semple in 2005 on the North Col with tents buried in snow (Photo: Dr. John Semple).

Team doctor: preparing for Everest

Dr. Semple, an alumnus of the Ontario College of Art and Design and a former medical illustrator, studied medicine at McMaster University and surgery at the University of Toronto. He is currently head of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Women’s College Hospital and a professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto. He also recently received an adjunct appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in Wilderness Medicine Program. As a hobby, he climbs mountains. He also studies them — an interest he developed at the height of the SARS crisis (more on this below).

In preparing for his role as team doctor for the 2005 British Expedition, he sought advice from physicians who’d previously held this role.

“I took a lot of stuff with me. I took a lot of antibiotics, because I figured there’d be lots of infections and things like that. I thought I was pretty well-equipped but when I got there I realized that you’re essentially looking after everybody not just your own team,” he said with a laugh. “I basically used up a lot of my meds in the first couple of weeks because it’s hard to deny anybody who’s got problems.”

Dr. Semple quickly realized that by collaborating with other team doctors, they’d all have a greater chance of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their climbers. He helped organize a system to make sure they weren’t duplicating services up and down the mountain and they agreed to look after each other’s’ patients when one of them was at base camp vs. advance base camp.

The main treatment for high altitude health problems is descent

Climbers can get ill for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s because they ascend too quickly and don’t acclimatize properly; for others, it’s a matter of their physiology just not being well-suited for the task.

Common health problems on Everest

  • Headache
  • Frostbite, hypothermia
  • Moderate or acute mountain sickness (e.g. dizziness, vomiting, persistent cough)
  • Cerebral or pulmonary edema
  • Eye problems (e.g. retinal hemorrhages)
  • Hypoxia (i.e. oxygen deprivation).

“As a general rule of thumb, if there was the potential of something getting worse as they went up and potentially threatening their limbs, their eyes or their life; I’d recommend that they go back down to a lower altitude,” said Dr. Semple.

Of course, it is up to the climbers to listen. He recalls one couple in particular.

“There was this couple from Ireland who wanted to be married at the top of the mountain, but the groom-to-be had a major retinal hemorrhage so I had to send him back down. I don’t think he was very happy about it. I ended up meeting the couple about two years later again on the South side going up. They’d gotten married back in Ireland and looked to be in good health.”

Dr. Semple in 2007 in Dingboche, a Sherpa village located in the Chukhung Valley, which is a popular stop for acclimatizing climbers. Mount Everest's North ridge can be seen in the background (Photo: Dr. John Semple) Dr. Semple in 2007 in Dingboche, a Sherpa village located in the Chukhung Valley, which is a popular stop for acclimatizing climbers. Mount Everest’s North ridge can be seen in the background (Photo: Dr. John Semple).

Challenges for his team on Everest

One of the greatest threats to a high-altitude climber is climbing late in the day, running them the risk of using up all their oxygen before they get back down.

“You have to imagine that they’ve been climbing for sometimes over 24 hours without much nutrition, without much opportunity to hydrate themselves properly. I’ve been up above 7000 meters (23,000 ft) myself — the fatigue that you experience is extreme. It takes a tremendous amount of stamina, strength and experience to get down. But, if you run out of oxygen, it’s sort of game over for most people.”

For the most part, Dr. Semple’s team was without major incidence.

“We did have one of our climbers collapse and lose vision in one eye,” he said.

Thankfully, he’d equipped the team with emergency kits.

He explained, “I taught them how to give themselves injections, which this fellow actually did. With the help of a Sherpa, he managed to get some dexamethasone into him and make it all the way back down. He had some frostbite and I managed to get an MRI and a couple of ophthalmology consults in Kathmandu in less than 24 hours once we got back, which was pretty amazing since it’s hard to get that in Toronto on demand.”

All told, three members of his expedition summited – albeit later than planned.

“We ended up being stuck at high altitude - over 21,000 feet - for 17 days in a row because of the weather. They couldn’t lay the ropes and nobody actually starting summiting until late in May, which is very, very late.”

Dr. Semple ended up losing over 45 pounds, making him almost unrecognizable to colleagues when he returned to Canada. In fact, he lost so much weight that he had to buy new clothes in Kathmandu for the trip home!

“I tell people that all I do now is social climbing, but it has the same side effects: nausea, headaches… nah, I’m just kidding,” said Dr. Semple with a laugh. “I do still climb. I did ice climbing recently and I’ve done trips to different mountains in Nepal, but not any of the extreme altitude stuff. Climbing Everest has very low attraction to me.”

Dr. Semple shared that the enduring appeal of climbing is the aesthetics of it, the break from stress, the countries you visit, the people you meet and the climbing community: “you all have to work together to get where you want to go.” For those looking to get into this hobby, he recommends starting with a mountain like Mount Athabasca in Western Canada. There are many, quality climbing groups who can serve as guides.

Dr. Semple in 2007 on Kala Patthar (a popular lookout point to view Everest), locatedon the south ridge of Pumori - a mountain eight kilometers west of Mount Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border. (Phtoto: Dr. John Semple) Dr. Semple in 2007 on Kala Patthar (a popular lookout point to view Everest), located on the south ridge of Pumori – a mountain eight kilometers west of Mount Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border. (Photo: Dr. John Semple).

Studying Everest - from mortality patterns to global warming

How does a surgeon in Toronto start studying Everest?

Dr. Semple explained, “During SARS, they cancelled a lot of the inpatient stuff in Toronto, but because I was a Division head, I had to stick around the hospital. I got to reading articles about hurricanes and how much the barometric pressure drops in the middle of the hurricane out at sea. It struck me that if there were storms of that magnitude at high altitude, it would change the oxygen levels so much that you would actually go from being hypoxic to anoxic. I contacted Environment Canada and even went and presented to them about storms at high altitude. Environment Canada doesn’t measure weather on the tops of mountains because there are no people that live there. They were, nevertheless, interested and they wanted to support me. They put me in touch with a guy in atmospheric physics at the University of Toronto, Dr. Kent Moore. He and I have probably one of the more unique, collaborative research relationships. We started looking at how weather can affect people at high altitude, particularly the high-impact storms.”

Dr. Semple and Dr. Moore have published together on about 15 papers.

  • They mapped out mortality patterns on Mount Everest over an 86-year period [British Medical Journal, 2008].
  • They found evidence to suggest that global warming is increasing the barometric pressure near the summit, over time making Mount Everest easier to climb [High Altitude Medicine & Biology, 2009].
  • They provided insights into what may have contributed to the disappearance of famed climbers Mallory and Irvine in 1924 [Weather, 2010].
  • They provided the first quantitative account of the risk of cold injury on Mount Everest and a method to characterize this risk and to devise mitigation strategies [High Altitude Medicine & Biology, 2011].
  • They provided the first in situ description of the risk of hypoxia and hypothermia on Mount Everest on various timescales [Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2012].
  • They identified that there’s as much ozone on the upper slopes of Mount Everest as there is in industrial cities [High Altitude Medicine & Biology, 2016].

“The key to a lot of this research is that we were able to validate an aviation data stream that went all the way back to 1928. Like forensic meteorology, we could go back and recreate storms — look at the wind speed, the barometric pressure and the temperature; so, for example, we could actually see what the weather was like when Hillary and Tensing summited Everest the first time,” he said.

Dr. Semple hopes to do more detailed investigation into the effects of ozone on climbers (who have acute exposure) versus Sherpas and porters (who have chronic exposure) and try to isolate factors that may contribute to the incidence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease among Himalayan guides.

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MOC Tip of the Month
MOC Tip: Guest tip from the Royal College Services Centre

Checklist: uploading your bulk reading or scanning to MAINPORT ePortfolio

MOC Tip of the Month

Our bulk reading and scanning options can help make documenting your activities easier. Here are some helpful tips to get your list ready to upload to MAINPORT ePortfolio!

When to use the bulk journal reading transcript

  • If you are keeping track of several articles or topics read throughout the calendar year: download, save to your desktop and use our Bulk Journal Reading Transcript.
  • If you are reading one or just a few articles in the calendar year: record your items individually in MAINPORT ePortfolio under “Reading.”

Before you upload your transcript in MAINPORT ePortfolio

Is there one entry per article you read?
Does each entry have the correct information filled in? (e.g. title, date, learning outcome)
Check your credits. You can only claim one credit per article.
Remember – Do NOT attach the articles themselves or screenshots of the articles.
Check that you have your usage log and your certificate ready to upload — we need both. (For topics scanned through UpToDate, Medscape and OrthoEvidence, etc.)
Are all entries from the same year? If not, separate them out. You need one transcript per calendar year.
Check your credits. Topics reviewed in UpToDate, Medscape, OrthoEvidence, etc., are eligible for 0.5 credits each.
Ask yourself: Would any of your reading/scanning activities be better reported as a Personal Learning Project (PLP)?

Note: PLPs are valued at two MOC credits per hour. They are fitting when the reading (or scanning) and learning is done to prepare for a presentation or teaching session, research an abstract, perform an online module or course, address a clinical/academic/administrative question, etc.

Download this checklist as a PDF.

Contact the Royal College Services Centre for personal support

If you are still unsure of the process, our Royal College Services Centre staff members are always ready and willing to assist. Contact us if you have any questions.

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You may be writing your designation wrong. Here’s how to check.

Close-up of an individual's hands writing

It’s been 33 years since an amendment was made to manage how a Fellowship designation from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada should be displayed.

Here’s a quick way to check yours:

F.R.C.P.C. or F.R.C.S.C.

The bylaw amendment eliminating the use of periods and brackets in the FRCPC and FRCSC designations was passed in 1984. The correct way to display your Royal College Fellowship is FRCPC or FRCSC – plain and simple. They are even the same in English and in French!

Why this change? Read this excerpt from the bylaw for your answer

“The Royal College Bylaws have been amended such that the official designations now call for the elimination of the periods and the “C” in brackets in the designations of Fellowship in the College…when the College was founded in 1929, it was modelled closely after the Royal College of Physicians of London and Royal College of Surgeons of England. At that time, it appeared appropriate to put the “C” in brackets…the Bylaws Committee, and ultimately Council, was of the opinion that the Canadian Royal College could stand on its own merit and no longer needed to be considered as an offshoot or an appendix of the Royal Colleges in the United Kingdom. The College realizes that it will take years to make the change, […] however the current designations [without periods and brackets] should be used whenever possible.”

Looking for more information on correct use of the Royal College Fellowship designation? See our Guideline on Royal College Qualifications and Fellowship Designations.

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Making the birthing process as safe as can be

Faculty members of the McGill Centre for Medical Education, including Drs. Saleem Razack and Ronald D. Gottesman (Photo credit: Terrie Quilatan)
Faculty members of the McGill Centre for Medical Education, including Drs. Saleem Razack and Ronald D. Gottesman (Photo credit: Terrie Quilatan)

Contributor: Diane Lynn Weidner

In this article

  • World-renowned expert, Dr. Tim Draycott, inspires maternity teams with his PROMPT training methods.
  • While in Montreal this spring, he shared how this program can successfully reduce obstetrical complications like sequela of shoulder dystocia.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada provide support for a distinguished educator to visit a Royal College-accredited simulation centre in Canada each year via the John. G. Wade Visiting Professorship in Patient Safety and Simulation-Based Medical Education.

This spring, the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning (SCSIL) was privileged to welcome visiting professor Dr. Tim Draycott, a consultant obstetrician from the Southmead Hospital in the United Kingdom and Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellow. As a committed member of a multidisciplinary team that cares for women in labour, he developed a program to explore how we can make all births as safe as they can be.

“Dr. Draycott shared his knowledge with passion and enthusiasm during Obstetrics and Gynecology Grand Rounds held at the McGill University Health Centre [MUHC] on May 4. His presentation on the subject of Effective Training for Obstetric Emergencies was entertaining and well-received by faculty and staff in attendance,” remarked Togas Tulandi, MD, FRCSC, professor and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Milton Leong Chair in Reproductive Medicine, McGill University. Dr. Tulandi is also chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MUHC.

Dr. Tim Draycott (Photo credit: Terrie Quilatan) Dr. Tim Draycott (Photo credit: Terrie Quilatan)

Physicians, nurses and residents all benefitted from two wonderful, fun-filled days of learning with Dr. Draycott during simulation workshops held at the SCSIL. During the first workshop, Simulation in Maternity Care, participants had the opportunity to review the risk factors, causes and treatment of a major postpartum obstetric hemorrhage through scenario practice. The second interactive workshop focused on PRactical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training (PROMPT), an evidence-based, multi-professional training method that prepares unit level staff to improve their management of obstetrical emergencies. This training is associated with direct improvements in perinatal outcome and has been proven to improve knowledge, clinical skills and teamwork.

Obstetrical staff members from the Jewish General Hospital’s Family Birthing Centre were among those in attendance. They were impressed with the reduction in obstetrical complications that resulted from Dr. Draycott’s training methods.

"Mandatory, annual simulation training of all obstetrical staff in my institution virtually eliminated the long-term neonatal consequences and sequela of shoulder dystocia," summed up Dr. Draycott during his workshop.

Shoulder dystocia is one of the most difficult and unpredictable obstetrical complications; it occurs during cephalic (head first) vaginal deliveries when the fetal shoulders do not deliver after the head has emerged because one or both shoulders becomes impacted against the bones of the maternal pelvis. This reduction in complications is a remarkable achievement and one that has been subsequently repeated in an American obstetrical centre using Dr Draycott's methods.

Dr. Luis Monton and Dr. Tim Draycott observe Dr. Milena Garofalo (left) and nurse Émilie Rioux as they enact a PROMPT simulation (Photo credit: Terrie Quilatan) Dr. Luis Monton and Dr. Tim Draycott observe Dr. Milena Garofalo (left) and nurse Émilie Rioux as they enact a PROMPT simulation (Photo credit: Terrie Quilatan)

It is a privilege to meet and learn from experienced simulation leaders like Dr. Draycott; it reminds us that no matter how skilled we are, there are always opportunities for further growth.

To learn more about PROMPT training, visit

For more on the John. G. Wade Visiting Professorship, visit

Diane Lynn Weidner is a Communication and Events Officer, McGill University, Faculty of Medicine.

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Highlights from the June 2017 Royal College Council Meeting

Royal College Council Meeting

In this article:

  • New Council leadership and nine first-time Councillors
  • Strategic planning – preparing for the influence of digital technology
  • Competence by Design – formal approval of this landmark transition
  • Responsible stewardship – unaudited financial report approved

The June 2017 Council meeting was a three-day extended meeting that took place June 21 to 23 in Ottawa, Ontario.

The meeting had several components.

New Council leadership

Françoise P. Chagnon, MDCM, FRCSC who began her term as President of the Royal College on February 28, 2017, chaired her first meeting of Royal College Council.

A total of 28 Councillors were in attendance, including nine who were newly appointed this past February:

  1. Marianne Coutu, MD, FRCSC
  2. Eleanor Elstein, MD, FRCPC
  3. Justin Hall, MD (Resident member)
  4. Pierre Leblanc, MD, FRCPC
  5. Sarkis Meterissian, MD, FRCSC
  6. Kaif Pardhan, MD, FRCPC
  7. Trudy Reid, MHA (Public member)
  8. Mark Walton, MD, FRCSC
  9. Irit Weiser, LLB (Public member)

An orientation session was held for new Councillors on June 21 to help prepare them for their first meeting and their roles and responsibilities as Councillors.

Strategic planning

A full day of the June meeting was devoted to strategic planning. For this session, Council was joined by the Board of Royal College Canada International (RCI). The overall session, facilitated by Deloitte, was designed to gather feedback and explore preliminary directions for the forthcoming strategic plan that will be in effect from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2021.

A key question that surfaced during the discussions was whether the Royal College should strive to be bold and new, rather than safe and predictable, in the years ahead.

There was agreement that the Royal College’s next strategic plan will need to prepare the organization for issues that are likely to emerge in the next 10 years. For example, it was noted that the Royal College will need to be prepared for the significant influence that digital technology and artificial intelligence will have on the medical workforce including, but not limited to, its impact on scopes of practice.

Council will continue with its strategic planning discussions at its October 2017 and February 2018 meetings with a view to approving a final strategic plan at its June 2018 meeting. Members can anticipate hearing more about this strategic planning effort through targeted engagement opportunities starting in the fall.

Competence by Design

For the last several years, Council, the Executive Committee of Council, the Committee on Specialty Education and sub-committees, have been actively engaged in Competence by Design. With a view to the July 1, 2017, launch date that was approaching at the time of the meeting, Council formally approved the landmark transition to a competency-based medical education system as per the project. They also directed the Committee on Specialty Education to put in place policies for discipline standards, credentialing, assessment and accreditation.

Responsible stewardship

The June meeting also included a number of fiduciary items, including monitoring of the Royal College’s finances. Council received and discussed an unaudited financial report for the Royal College for the year ended March 31, 2017. The final audited financial statements are expected to be presented to Council for approval in September 2017. Once approved by Council, the audited financial statements for the financial year ended March 31, 2017, will be provided to the members for information by September 30, 2017 (six months after the financial year end). Council was satisfied with the unaudited report.

The next Royal College Council meeting will take place from October 25-27, 2017. Questions relating to Council activities can be directed to

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Last chance: Award and grant calls (ending in early September)

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Medal Icon

We’re still accepting applications and nominations for a group of national awards and grants. Do you qualify? Do you know someone you should nominate? It’s easy enough to find out!

Coins Icon

Apply for one of two opportunities to support your medical education studies or research: (1) our one-year fellowship supports formal graduate training in the field of medical education; (2) our strategic grant supports research in competency-based medical education in priority areas.

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Have you downloaded our new CRM book yet?


Released last month, 1000+ people have already downloaded our new book: Optimizing Crisis Resource Management (CRM) to Improve Patient Safety and Team Performance.

Download your free e-version today
(Note: a hard copy of the book can be purchased on

How to tell if this book is for you

This book is intended for all health care providers working in acute care. It includes theoretical and practical examples that will help you (and your team members) hone your skills in six areas:

  1. situational awareness,
  2. decision-making,
  3. verbal communication,
  4. task management
  5. leadership and followership, and
  6. teamwork.

Read what others are saying in the July 2017 edition of Dialogue.

Visit our website:

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ICRE 2017 – What to expect: Plenary debate

ICRE 2017 banner

This year’s International Conference on Residency Education (ICRE) is all about leadership and change. The program and workshop content is inspired by the 2017 theme “Leadership and Change in Residency Training: A Call to Action.”

Left to Right: Dr. Ian Incoll and Dr. Jonas Nordquist Left to Right: Dr. Ian Incoll and Dr. Jonas Nordquist

In keeping with the theme, the highly anticipated plenary debate will tackle the question, “Does leadership training matter?”

  • On the proposition side, we’ll hear from Jonas Nordquist, PhD, associate director of residency programs at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden.
  • In opposition to the motion will be Ian Incoll, MBBS, FRACS, president and dean of the Australian Orthopaedic Association.

Don’t miss this exciting event - register today!

This session will be chaired by Jonathan Sherbino, MD, FRCPC, assistant dean, education research, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University and Simon Fleming, MBBS, president, British Orthopaedic Trainees’ Association.

The debate will take place on Saturday, October 21 at 08:00.

Learning Analytics Summit: Meet the plenaries

Join us October 18-19, 2017, for ICRE’s first Learning Analytics Summit: Demystifying the Use of ‘Big Data’ for Medical Education.

Explore how analytics can help trainees reach their full potential.

During this two-day summit, participants will hear from an international faculty of experts, including plenary speakers: Stephanie Teasley, PhD, and Rachel Ellaway, PhD.

Dr. TeasleyDr. Teasley is a research professor in the School of Information and the director of the Learning Education & Design Lab (LED Lab) at the University of Michigan. Her recent work has focused on assembling and utilizing institutionally-held student data to design and evaluate new ways to support student success in higher education.

Dr.EllawayDr. Ellaway is a professor in Community Health Sciences and research director of the Office of Health and Medical Education Scholarship at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Her work has encompassed technology and systems in medical education. She has led the development of open source software and data standards that are widely used around the world.

Join the conversation:

@ICREConf | @CIFRConf | @drjfrank (Conference chair) #ICRE2017

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Simulation Summit 2017: Workshops (sneak peek)

Simulation Summit 2017 banner

The 2017 Simulation Summit program features practical professional development workshops tailored for interprofessional audiences. They cover topics from feedback and program evaluation, to emotions and disaster simulation.

Highlights from this year’s workshop lineup:

Workshop Why attend?
Mind the performance gap: Tools to improve crisis resource management skills Learn how to reaffirm the importance of focused debriefing in relation to learning objectives in simulation and its impact on future performance.
Fundamentals of program evaluation: Applying outcomes oriented evaluation in simulation based education Discover how to integrate and apply logic models to inform outcome-oriented evaluation of simulation programs.
Debriefing the debriefing made easy : a simple approach to identifying and closing performance gaps (presented in French) Identify learning gaps in crisis resource management (CRM) skills after reviewing a clinical scenario. Develop strategies to address deficiencies in CRM skills that can be applied to debriefing.

Whether you’re a physician, nurse, first responder, sim technician or other professional engaged in simulation training, you’re sure to find workshops to suit your needs.

Workshop attendance is on a first come, first served basis.

Visit for more conference details.

Connect with us:

@RC_SimSummit | @doc4brains (Conference chair) |

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Members in the news

Doctor walking down a hospital hallway

“For some people, they may get worse and begin to impact their ability to be able to socialize and perform their work functions and family responsibilities,” - Vincent Agyapong, MBChB, FRCPC (“How being affected by B.C. wildfires may impact your mental health, and how to cope,” Global News).

“Overall, sunscreens are very safe,” - Jennifer Beecker, MD, FRCPC (“Some kids may be sensitive or allergic to certain sunscreen ingredients, doctors say,” Toronto Star).

“Ontarians should care because testing like this happens routinely and it doesn’t seem necessary,” - Sacha Bhatia, MD, FRCPC (“Low-risk Ontarians getting too many heart tests, study finds,” Toronto Star).

“But as medical authorities react to the crisis by imposing strict restrictions on opioid prescribing, the challenge is to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” Hance Clarke, MD, FRCPC (“Opioids still have a place in control of chronic pain: Doctors’ Notes,” Toronto Star).

“I think that the bottom line is that (antiperspirant) is probably quite safe,” – Beth Cummings, MD, FRCPC (“Is antiperspirant safe for kids?,” Global News).

"You just have to think how hot your car seems when you've left it out in the hot sun for an hour," – Andrew Dixon, MD, FRCPC (“Edmonton pediatrician warns parents about leaving kids in hot cars,” CBC News).

“Using big data is a way to understand efficiencies in the health care system. Part of our job is to create standards. I want to use this information to drive change,” - Alan Forster, MD, FRCPC (“Surgical delays lead to higher risk of death and higher costs, says Ottawa Hospital study,” Ottawa Citizen).

“From a public health perspective, it is important to ensure that chlamydia cases are diagnosed in order to limit the spread of infection and the longer-term impacts of this infection if it isn’t caught and treated,” - Jeff Kwong, MD, FRCPC (“Changes to Pap testing lead to thousands of missed chlamydia cases: study,” National Post).

“I wouldn’t call it alarming but it’s really notable. Our kids are generally heavier and longer at most points of their first two years of life, but especially once they get past nine months of age,” - Joel Ray, MD, FRCPC (“Canadian babies are heavier and taller than global standards. Here’s why,” Global News).

“Most sore throat is not streptococcal, is not Group A strep and so does not need antibiotics,” – Michael Silverman, MD, FRCPC (“Common conditions you might not need antibiotics for, but could get a prescription anyway,” Global News).

Committee member in the news

“I am honoured to take over as Commander of Canadian Forces Health Services and to continue to work with our dedicated team,” - Brigadier-General Andrew Downes, vice chair of the AFC Committee in Aerospace Medicine (“BGen. Andrew Downes assumes command as new surgeon general of CAF,” Canadian Military Family magazine).

Order of Canada appointments

Congratulations to the following Fellows, newly appointed to the Order of Canada!

Officers of the Order of Canada

  • Abdallah S. Daar, OC, MD, FRCSC
  • Denis Daneman, OC, MBChB, FRCPC

Members of the Order of Canada

  • Peter B. Dent, CM, MD, FRCPC
  • Nady A. el-Guebaly, MD, FRCPC
  • Gail Erlick Robinson, CM, MD, FRCPC
  • Sharon Lynn Walmsley, MD, FRCPC

Find details online:


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In memoriam


Jack Adolph, MD, FRCPC, died on June 26, 2017, in Saskatoon, Sask., at age 87. Dr. Adolph was certified by the Royal College in General Pathology in 1962. During his medical career, he worked in three different Prairie communities: Milden, Swift Current and Saskatoon. Read more about Dr. Adolph.

Prakash Singh Ahuja, MBBS, FRCSC, died on June 6, 2017, in Waterloo, Ont., at age 81. Dr. Ahuja was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1969. He practised in Kitchener-Waterloo for more than 40 years. Read more about Dr. Ahuja.

Ronald Derrall Armstrong, MD, FRCPC, died on May 4, 2017, in Etobicoke, Ont., at age 88. Dr. Armstrong was certified by the Royal College in Diagnostic Radiology in 1965.

Tibor Bezeredi, MD, FRCPC, died on June 21, 2017, in West Vancouver, B.C., at age 87. Dr. Bezeredi was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1965. He practised adult and forensic psychiatry for 40 years and is a former president of the BC Psychiatric Association. Read more about Dr. Bezeredi.

James Robert Busser, MD, FRCPC, died on June 23, 2017, in Vancouver, B.C., at age 56. Dr. Busser was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1988. He was a vocal health system advocate and respected physician. Read more about Dr. Busser.

Roméo Charrois, MD, FRCSC, died on May 13, 2017, in Quebec, Que., at age 82. Dr. Charrois was certified by the Royal College in Urology in 1966. Mourned by many, he was a highly-esteemed mentor and urologist at l’Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. Read more about Dr. Charrois.

Benoit Cinq-Mars, MD, FRCSC, died on May 27, 2017, in Quebec, Que., at age 52. Dr. Cinq-Mars was certified by the Royal College in Ophthalmology in 1997. He worked at l’Hôpital St-Sacrement and is remembered as a professional and empathetic physician. Read more about Dr. Cinq-Mars.

Richard J. Clermont, MD, FRCPC, died on April 27, 2017, in Montreal, Que., at age 80. Dr. Clermont was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1968.

René Jean Crépeau, MD, FRCSC, died on June 26, 2017, in Outremont, Que., at age 76. Dr. Crépeau was certified by the Royal College in Plastic Surgery in 1974. Among other roles, he was an associate professor, Department of Plastic Surgery, at McGill University. Read more about Dr. Crépeau.

Victoria (Vicki) Jane Davis, MD, FRCSC, died on June 25, 2017, in Scarborough, Ont., at age 62. Dr. Davis was certified by the Royal College in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1990. She devoted her practice to adolescent gynecology, complex gynecolological surgery, infertility treatment, and women's integrated health medicine. Read more about Dr. Davis.

Philippe A. D'Entremont, MDCM, FRCSC, died on June 15, 2017, in Moncton, N.B., at age 97. Dr. D'Entremont was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1953. He is a former president of the Medical Council of Canada and the Federation of the Medical Licensing Authorities of Canada. Read more about Dr. D'Entremont.

Derek Eaves, MBChB, FRCPC, died on June 16, 2017, in Vancouver, B.C., at age 75. Dr. Eaves was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1974. A preeminent forensic psychiatrist, for 20 years he served as executive director of the Forensic Services Commission. Read more about Dr. Eaves.

William Alan H. Dodd, MD, FRCPC, died on June 17, 2017, in Langley, B.C., at age 81. Dr. Dodd was certified by the Royal College in Dermatology in 1966. For 50 years, he practiced in Vancouver's Lower Mainland. Read more about Dr. Dodd.

Ian Alexander Ferguson, MD, FRCSC, died on June 15, 2017, in Edmonton, Alta., at age 87. Dr. Ferguson was certified by the Royal College in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1966. He is remembered as an outstanding and kind doctor. Read more about Dr. Ferguson.

Norman Anthony Fretz, MD, FRCPC, died on July 6, 2017, in Guelph, Ont., at age 86. Dr. Fretz was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1964. He formerly worked in Windsor and North Bay as a staff psychiatrist and director of Medical Education for the Ministry of Health. Read more about Dr. Fretz.

Alain Giard, MD, FRCSC, died on June 11, 2017, in Sainte-Anne-Des-Monts, Que., at age 70. Dr. Giard was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1978. He worked for more than 40 years as a surgeon, respected for his devotion and skill. Read more about Dr. Giard.

Robert Gordon Heckadon, MD, FRCSC, died on June 22, 2017, in Windsor, Ont., at age 84. Dr. Heckadon was certified by the Royal College in Plastic Surgery in 1965. After his surgical practice ended, he worked for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Read more about Dr. Heckadon.

George Scott Horner, MD, FRCPC, died on June 14, 2017, in Clarenville, N.L., at age 83. Dr. Horner was certified by the Royal College in General Pathology in 1965. He is missed by family and friends. Read more about Dr. Horner.

Dorothy June Irwin, MDCM, FRCPC, died on June 22, 2017, in Pointe-Claire, Que., at age 83. Dr. Irwin was certified by the Royal College in Dermatology. With a lifelong drive to excel, she fought for many years to spread the dangers of pesticides and to advocate for their ban. Read more about Dr. Irwin.

Teruo (Ted) Izukawa, MD, FRCPC, died on June 17, 2017, in Scarborough, Ont., at age 86. Dr. Izukawa was certified by the Royal College in Cardiology in 1970. A professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, he worked as director of the Heart Clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children until his retirement in 1996. Read more about Dr. Izukawa.

Philip Katz, MD, FRCPC, died on June 29, 2017, in Winnipeg, Man., at age 86. Dr. Katz was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry 1960. He spent 55 years working in child and adolescent psychiatry, often sacrificing sleep to see patients. Read more about Dr. Katz.

Arthur Leonard Lesser, MDCM, FRCPC, died on June 27, 2017, in Hamilton, Ont., at age 85. Dr. Lesser was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1961. He was a professor emeritus at McMaster University and former president of the Ontario Psychiatric Association. Read more about Dr. Lesser.

Thomas Frederick Lofft, MD, FRCPC, died on June 13, 2017, in Etobicoke, Ont., at age 82. Dr. Lofft was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1965. He was a consulting psychiatrist with the Toronto and Peel school boards. Read more about Dr. Lofft.

Robert Ivan Logan, MD, FRCPC, died on July 1, 2017, in New Westminster, B.C., at age 102. Dr. Logan was certified by the Royal College in Anesthesiology in 1949. Remembered as an “articulate gentleman,” he devoted his life in service to others. Read more about Dr. Logan.

Mohamed Nabil Malak, MD, FRCSC, died on June 11, 2017, in Montreal, Que., at age 73. Dr. Malak was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1977. He worked for many years in Hawkesbury, Ont. Read more about Dr. Malak.

Charles-Eugène Marin, MD, FRCPC, died on June 7, 2017, in Sainte-Anne-Des-Monts, Que., at age 91. Dr. Marin was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry. He provided psychiatric services for many years before changing to politics. In 1977, he was elected mayor of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. Read more about Dr. Marin.

Irwin Fraser Stewart, CM, MD, FRCSC, died on June 5, 2017, in New Westminster, B.C., at age 86. Dr. Stewart was certified by the Royal College in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery in 1962. He worked hard to improve access to medical services for youth in remote areas. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2001. Read more about Dr. Stewart.

Denis Brendan Sweeney, MD, FRCSC, died in May 23, 2017, in Long Beach, CA, USA, at age 85. Dr. Sweeney was certified by the Royal College in Ophthalmology in 1961. He worked for many years in Scarborough, Ont., performing pioneering procedures at the Scarborough and Centenary hospitals. Read more about Dr. Sweeney.

Jerry Tenenbaum, MD, FRCPC, died on July 6, 2017, in Victoria, B.C., at age 69. Dr. Tenenbaum was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology in 1977. He was a professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and consultant rheumatologist and internist at Mount Sinai Hospital. Read more about Dr. Tenenbaum.

Ching-Hui Tsai, MD, FRCPC, died on June 23, 2017, in Gatineau, Que., at age 85. Dr. Tsai was certified by the Royal College in Hematology in 1974. After a long career as a hematologist-oncologist, he retired in 2002. Read more about Dr. Tsai.

Francisco Carriedo Violago Jr., MD, FRCSC, died on June 17, 2017, in Winnipeg., Man., at age 84. Dr. Violago was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery (1983) and Vascular Surgery (1968). Admired for his skills and kindness, he practised medicine for six decades. Read more about Dr. Violago.


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