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In Memoriam



Photo of Dr. James Forrest

Dr. James B. Forrest - July 27, 2017

Dr. James Forrest passed away peacefully on July 27, 2017, in his 77th year.  Adored husband to Janette, loving father to Jeremy and Webster, uncle to Jane, Claire, Andrew, and Emma, great-uncle to Owen, Nathan, Adam, Leah, Graham, Brodie, and Murray.

Jay was the second chair of the Department of Anesthesia, following in the footsteps of Don Catton. He joined the Department as a contractually limited Assistant Professor in 1973, having been recruited by Dr. Catton, who said "I had no concept of teaching or research. I had to hire people of expertise. I targeted people: Forrest- for this rein on research..."

Jay held both an MB/ChB and a PhD, obtained for the University of Glasgow in 1964 and 1969 respectively. When Jay, with his wife, Janette, and family, came to McMaster, he assumed not only leadership in anesthesia research but also in undergraduate medical education, serving as Chairman of what was then Phase II, and subsequently leading to Phase III. He and his colleague, Dr. RMKW "Bob" Lee, contributed greatly to the published literature on the ultrastructure and function of the lung and edited chapters in several editions of the leadership text on the subject. His career at Mac progressed rapidly, from his start as Assistant Professor to Full Professor in 1979. He served two terms as Chair of the Department of Anaesthesia at a time when declining revenues and restructuring of the faculty practice plan created significant challenges to recruitment of academic anesthesia practitioners. Nonetheless, through partnership with Charles Goldsmith in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, he led one of the first large-scale epidemiological studies of anesthesia, recruiting over 17,000 patients across 5 centres in Canada and the United States during the mid-1980s, and created a valuable database which informed subsequent studies.

He practiced clinically for over 35 years. his interest in pain management coincided with that of psychiatrist Dr. Eldon Tunks, and together they established what was probably the first truly multi-disciplinary pain clinic in Canada after the model of Dr. John Bonica. His example and mentorship led to McMaster contributing a disproportionate number of anesthesiologists to the pain practice community over the years. His leadership, along with that of Dr. Tunks, was recognized at the 2013 "Party for Pain" gala fundraiser in support of the revitalized Michael G. DeGroote Pain Clinic, as it returned to the multi-disciplinary model. Outside of his medical practice, he was an avid golfer, both at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club and the Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast, Florida, as well as an accomplished jazz pianist. He loved to travel with his family, particularly to Scotland, London, Ogunquit, and Palm Coast. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to Parkinson Canada (parkinson.ca) or St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation (stjoesfoundation.ca).






Dr. John Ashworth

Dr. John Ashworth - September 16, 2016

Dr. John Ashworth, former Chief of Anesthesia at the Hamilton Civic Hospitals, passed away at St. Peter's Hospital in Hamilton on September 16, 2016 in his 88th year. He was predeceased by his wife, June Kathleen Ashworth, and son, Andrew John Ashworth. His is survived by his sons Dominic, Stephen, and Timothy, his brother Peter, and six grandchildren Maria, Christina, Leslie, Emma, Kristen, and Ethan.

Dr. Ashworth was a member of the anesthesia community in Hamilton when the McMaster Medical School arrived. He had graduated from Medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, England in 1955 and served in the British Army from 1947 to 1949. Following discharge from the army, he served as a house physician in three different hospitals in England before coming to Canada in 1958. Appointed staff physician at the Mountain Sanatorium in Hamilton in 1958, his job included giving anesthetics for thoracoplasty. he became interested in the field, completed studies at the University of Toronto and returned to join the Anesthesia Department at the Hamilton General Hospital in 1962.

When Dr. Dn Catton formed the Academic Department of Anesthesia in 1971, Dr. Ashworth was one of several Hamilton clinicians who participated. His initial scepticism about the approach to self-directed learning turned into enthusiasm as he was exposed to it, and his tutoring experience led him to become the Director of the Mixed internship program in 1979. His involvement continued and his file has several letters to the deans of the era commenting upon the risks inherent in supporting academic activity through reallocation of clinical earnings - precient in light of the current achievements in Alternate Funding Plans.

He was an excellent and diligent clinician, and provided leadership for his clinical and academic departments during his career. He will be missed.





Dr. Ron Browne

Dr. Ron Browne - April 15, 2016

Dr. Ron Browne, Professor Emeritus and third chair of the Department of Anesthesia at McMaster University, passed away on April 15, 2016 at the Brantford General Hospital at the age of 87.

Born on June 2, 1928, Dr. Browne was a Barbadian-Canadian physician, trained at Aberdeen University, the Hull Group of Hospitals in Yorkshire, Liverpool University, and the University College Hospital of the West Indies (Jamaica) before receiving his FFARCS (Eng) and subsequently his LMCC (1966) and FRCPC in Anesthesia (1972) for Canadian practice.

He was an active staff member at the Hamilton Civic Hospitals beginning in 1965, serving as Head of Service for the General division from 1980 to 1990. He joined the geographic full time anesthesia soon after the medical school opened at McMaster and served throughout the remained of his career, including a period as Acting Chair of the Department of Anesthesia from 1984 to 1985. He was appointed as Professor in 1986, a notable achievement for a faculty member with a primarily clinical interest, as the idea of a clinician educator had yet to be fully realized within the University as a whole. The promotion was in recognition of his consistent service in education subsequent to the establishment of the medical school, and his research activities again were unusual for someone whose practice was primarily clinical.

He was particularly interested in risks of exposure to disease for operating room personnel and studied the prevalence if hepatitis B antibody in anesthesiologists and others in the OR with his colleagues Drs. Max Chernesky and Peter Rondi, both in Canada and the West Indies.

In reviewing the letters of support for his promotion to Professor, it is clear that he was universally respected by surgeons, administrators, and anesthesia colleagues as a calm, caring, and extremely competent individual whose demeanour contributed greatly to ensuring good relations between the newly-established University health care community and the existing practitioners who embraced the academic opportunities afforded by the arrival of the new medical school, and who carried out a long and rewarding career with good grace and enjoyment.





Dr. Donald Catton

Dr. Donald Catton - February 9, 2016

Dr. Donald Catton, professor and the first chair of the Department of Anesthesia at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, passed away at the Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton on February 9, 2016 at the age of 85.

"Don Catton set a tone of University and community collaboration in the creation of the academic Department of Anesthesia,"  said Dr. Norm Buckley, current chair of the Department of Anesthesia.

He was the only inaugural department chair to be recruited from the clinical milieu in Hamilton, and he worked diligently to engage his clinical colleagues in the academic activities. Dr. Catton also recruited nationally and internationally to create excellent educational and research programs.

Catton was a graduate of the medical school at Western University who spent time as a medical officer for the Royal Canadian Air force before joining the staff of the Hamilton Civic Hospitals as an anesthetist in 1964. He joined the fledgling medical school as a professor in 1970, was the founding chair of the Department of Anesthesia for nine years, beginning his term in 1971. Reflecting on his early years in the Department of Anesthesia, Dr. Catton said, "I had no concept of teaching or research. I had to hire people of expertise." His brief monograph with Dr. Robert Stringer on the history of anesthesia in Hamilton placed the arrival of the medical school in local, clinical context for the profession. Besides his role at McMaster, Catton held leadership roles at Hamilton hospitals, the Ontario Medical Association, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 1986. He retired from McMaster in 1988 and he received the Canadian Anesthetists' Society medal for meritorious service in 1989.




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