Jim came to Western as an undergraduate student and after only two years was accepted to medical school, all while playing Rugby and Football. He received the Lange Award as a graduating Western medical student with one of the highest scores in his class. After completing a rotating internship at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria BC he returned to Western, to join the Orthopaedic Residency training program.
In 1981 he was awarded a prestigious R. Samuel McLaughlin Fellowship to travel abroad for further surgical training. He joined J Leonard Goldner as a Fellow in Hand and Microsurgery at Duke University in North Carolina. After returning to Western Jim joined the staff of Victoria Hospital in 1982 with a busy practice in both Hand Surgery and Sports Medicine. Jim pioneered the development of arthroscopic surgery of the wrist. He travelled widely as a sought after speaker on Wrist Arthroscopy, writing papers and book chapters, preparing surgical videos and leading cadaveric training sessions. He won numerous awards during this period including the J Edward Samson Award for best orthopaedic research in Canada and the O’Donoghue Sports Medicine Research Award from the US. He was a travelling fellow for the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, The European Sports Medicine Society and represented Canada as an American British Canadian Travelling Fellow.
In 1992, Jim Roth and Bob McFarlane moved their practices to St. Joseph’s Hospital and co-founded the Hand & Upper Limb Centre, also known as HULC. They had a vision of a multidisciplinary centre of excellence for clinical care, teaching and research in hand and upper limb surgery. The unit combines the expertise of both plastic and orthopaedic surgeons with a dedicated partnership of nurses, anesthesiologists, physiatrists, therapists and scientists. The Hand and Upper Limb Centre is now the largest of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in the world.
Jim also served on the Senate and Decanal Committee of Western. He was on the hospital and foundation boards of St. Joseph’s Hospital as well as the Medical Advisory committee. He was site chief of surgery at St. Joseph’s hospital and Chief of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery for Western.
In Jim’s 21 years at HULC, the Unit has performed over 80,000 surgeries and had over half a million patient visits. Collectively the HULC unit published 787 peer reviewed papers or book chapters and received 262 awards and garnered almost 42 million dollars in research funding. In 2004 HULC received the Faculty of Medicine Team Award of Excellence. HULC was featured in the Michael Moore movie ‘Sicko’. The image of our patient sitting in Tim Horton’s describing the successful replantation of his fingers at HULC was riveting.
Jim personally published 156 papers and book chapters. He received many awards including the Prix d’excellence award from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2007 in recognition for his significant contributions in providing outstanding care to his patients and the community. He was proud of his trainees; more than 60 fellows from all over the world and innumerable residents.
Jim leaves four daughters; Jodie, Sandie, Christie and Kelly and two grand-daughters Kloe and Reese. He was a devoted husband to Barb.
James Hubert Roth, a devoted family man, outstanding athlete, skillful surgeon, inquisitive scientist, willing teacher, master administrator and faithful friend. We will remember him and honour him by continuing to strive for excellence in everything we do. He would have it no other way.