Ramsay Hamdi, son of late surgeon Dr. Fouad Hamdi, holds the artificial spinal implant pioneered by his father 50 years ago, joined by Island Health board chair Leah Hollins and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix. Tim Collins/Victoria News

Pioneering surgeon’s legacy lives on in commemorative display at RJH

50 years have passed since Dr. Fouad Ahmed Hamdi performed ground breaking surgery

A truly innovative Victoria surgeon, Dr. Fouad Ahmed Hamdi was honoured this week for a list of accomplishments that included his pioneering 50 years ago of spinal cord replacement surgery.

Island Health board chair Leah Hollins, Health Minister Adrian Dix and others representing the medical community were at Royal Jubilee Hospital on Thursday to open a time capsule display featuring pieces of historical equipment and the stories behind them.

“When we look at the massive advancements in surgical procedures in the past 50 years, it’s really an amazing series of accomplishments,” said Dix.

”Preserving the past and learning from our history is incredibly important, and it’s great to be able to highlight surgical artifacts and interventions from which we’ve learned. By highlighting Dr. Hamdi’s surgical innovation, we’re able to see what great things we were capable of then, and what we’re capable of today.”

At the time of Hamdi’s innovative procedure – the first of its kind in Canada – newspapers across the country touted the surgery as a ground-breaking success. The patient, 65-year-old William Hamilton, recovered fully, leading to other similar surgeries and an outpouring of support for the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

At the same time, Hamdi and his colleague, Dr. Bill Gaddes, established a laboratory at the Jubilee which provided training opportunities for University of Victoria graduates. For his part, Hamdi was presented to the British Columbia legislature in 1968 and made an honourary citizen of Victoria in 1971.

His son, Ramsay Hamdi, attended the opening of the display and said he was happy to be honouring his father, who died in 2004. Donating one of the original spinal prosthesis to the Victoria Medical Society was a way of recognizing a passionate man, dedicated to learning.

“By honouring our father today, we know his spirit, his inventiveness and commitment to the wellness of others will continue to be recognized and shared,” said Ramsay.

Hollins said her organization is committed to honouring innovators of the past, but sees the recognition of past accomplishments as consistent with the philosophy of Island Health’s core philosophy.

“We’re pleased to showcase Dr. Hamdi’s medical contributions 50 years ago. It’s also an opportunity to highlight that we continue to support innovation that puts patients first. It’s what we strive for,” she said.

Celebrating Hamdi’s work and displaying equipment from the 1960s and earlier is part of the hospital’s move to honour advancements in surgical procedures and the groundbreaking role the Royal Jubilee Hospital has played.

The Victoria Medical Society is working toward restoring the Pemberton Memorial Operating Room as a medical history museum and a home for the society’s medical archives and offices. The operating room was built in 1896 for the princely sum of $3,614 with funds donated by the estate of J.D. Pemberton,the first Surveyor General for the colony of Vancouver Island.

It was granted National Historic Site designation in 2006 and work to restore the operating room as a history museum has been ongoing.

The display of artifacts related to Hamdi’s work will be displayed at the Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre’s atrium throughout February.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Active investigation into reported sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt

An Oct. 5 allegation is being investigated by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Federal environment minister faces protesters in Saanich

Catherine McKenna defended her government’s environmental record

Food service workers at Victoria airport protest for second time in four months

Negotiations continue to drag on with employer Compass Group Canada, VAA refuses to engage

Taxis in bus lanes not being considered, Victoria Transit chair says

Susan Brice responds to a cab driver’s request for access to Douglas Street priority lanes

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

POLL: Have BC Ferry waits ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

POLL: Do you have a family doctor?

A new urgent care centre is set to open in Langford on… Continue reading

Most Read