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

Graduating Saanich students have overcome hardship

Claremont and Reynolds Grade 12s among the recipients of scholarship from Horation Alger Association

Victoria Harbour most polluted on B.C. coast: study

City’s industrial past and more recently, pharmaceuticals, create high levels of pollutants

Watch for high winds today and tomorrow

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria. According to Environment… Continue reading

Experts to capture and collar 20 female deer in Oak Bay starting this month

Does sedated, examined, collared and ear tagged in latest phase of deer management plan

Victoria dog attacked by otters off Dallas Road

Off-leash dogs and wildlife can make for a poor mix, veterinary staffer says

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

Saanich councillor wants tax credits for political donations

A Saanich councillor would like to see tax credits for residents who… Continue reading

St. Michael’s advance to finals at Senior Girls Basketball Provincials

St. Michael’s University School of Saanich and Alberni District Secondary School (Port… Continue reading

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

Reports of money laundering in B.C. real estate ‘troubling’: attorney general

News report alleges people connected to fentanyl trade are using B.C. real estate to launder money

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals for Canada, and men’s hockey loss

Team Canada shines on the speed skating track, but fall short against the Czechs in hockey

Air ambulance used parking lot for patient transfer because it was most efficient option

Lack of certification for helipad at Comox Valley Hospital not a factor in decision

Saanich couple open Art in the Barn gallery

Converted horse barn now an art space

RCMP member challenges court to prevent further disciplinary action

RCMP member launches appeal to avoid new hearing over alleged harassment

Most Read