Charles Tupper finally admitted to Medical Hall of Fame

Charles Tupper in 1870

Charles Tupper in 1870

Jock Murray says he and his wife, Janet were thrilled last week when they learned that, a century after his death, Sir Charles Tupper is finally being inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

“We have long believed Tupper was a major contributor to the development of Canada as we know it,” Dr. Murray said in an e-mail to warktimes yesterday.

He added that Tupper “used his strong community and social sense from his experience as a physician to direct the changes” in Canadian society.

The Murrays, who are co-authors of Sir Charles Tupper: Fighting Doctor to Father of Confederation, argued during their talk at the Ottawa House Museum in August that Tupper often doesn’t get the recognition he deserves both as politician and doctor.

Murray, who is a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame himself, first nominated Tupper for membership in 2010, but it took five years before the former Prime Minister and Premier of Nova Scotia was finally accepted.

“I think the attitude was that Tupper was known for his political contributions, not his medical ones,” Murray says.

Contributions to public health

In his letter nominating Tupper, Murray points out that Sir Charles was the founding president of the Canadian Medical Association and that he was the driving force behind the establishment of a medical school at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“He campaigned for better hospital care for Nova Scotians,” the letter adds.

“As City Medical Officer for Halifax he presented a report that criticized the state of hospital care, the care provided in the City asylum and the management of contagious diseases. Although unpopular with city fathers and many of the medical profession, his report resulted in major changes, including increased hospital funding, increased utilization of the new Provincial Hospital and the construction of a new hospital for the indigent.”

The letter says Tupper deserves to be a member of the Medical Hall of Fame not only because he campaigned for better public health measures in Canada, but also because he was an advocate for international health regulations.

“As High Commissioner to Great Britain he persuaded the British Government to reverse a ban on Canadian cattle by personally carrying out an autopsy on cattle and showing they were disease free,” the letter says arguing that Tupper “should be recognized as a builder of medicine in Canada.”

The induction ceremony for Tupper and five other nominees will be held on April 14 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

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