The inaugural lecture for the newly introduced History of Medicine Visiting Speaker Series took place earlier this month with huge success. Nearly 100 people were in attendance for Dr. Dale C. Smith’s lecture, “Caring for the Wounded: How the Great War Medical Experience Shaped Post-War American Surgery.”
Faculty, staff, students and community members enjoyed an exciting three-part story by Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith's expertise, enthusiasm and eloquent delivery captivated audience members, as he intertwined history with important medical values of professionalism and doctoring.
Dr. Smith addressed the overall war experience with regards to surgery and its impact after the war. He also discussed leading American surgeons like Dr. George Crile, Dr. Harvey Cushing and others who served overseas, to attempt to improve surgical outcomes by limiting infection in the wounded areas, refining blood transfusion techniques, and more.
“Professor Smith's talk launched our new History of Medicine Visiting Speaker Series in a spectacular way,” said Shelley Mckellar, Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine. “He is a leading scholar in the field of military medicine and history, and we were delighted that he agreed to be our inaugural speaker in this series.”
Earlier in the day, Dr. Smith joined the Osler Society for a lunchtime session on the history of battlefield medicine. With 25 medical students in attendance, Dr. Smith discussed the challenges and impact of medicine in times of war, the differing perspectives of the military doctor as opposed to the civilian doctor treating soldiers at the front, as well as the broader practice of emergency medicine.
The expected five-year series has been made possible by a generous donation from a Western University alumnus.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to bring in such high-caliber scholars to the Western community and thank our donor for sponsoring this series,” said McKellar.
The series will return next year with yet another captivating speaker. Keep an eye out for more details.