In memory

The late Dr Vincent James Hughes was a Canadian anesthesiologist who dedicated his professional life to improving anaesthesia care worldwide.

He spent ten years working in the West Indies; ten as a physician-anesthesiologist in Zimbabwe, and ten back home at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, where he continued to support outreach programmes in low-resource settings.

By force of dedication, compassion and example, the beloved member of the St Michael’s anesthesiology team has continued to make a difference to surgical safety in low-resource settings since his sudden death last year: recently his colleagues raised funds for the purchase of 39 oximeters in his memory.

“I thought it would be three or four – but the department said absolutely, we must do this, but in a way that shows how important Vince was to all of us,” explained Dr Patricia Houston, Vice President for Education at St. Michael’s, who proposed the tribute.

“It very much resonated with me and my department.  It’s probably the most useful piece of technology that can be sent.”

Every single member of the physician faculty donated, and their generosity has contributed to the enormous success of the Canadian Anaesthesiologists’ Society drive to send enough oximeters for every operating room in Rwanda.

Rwanda-bound and raring to go

268 oximeters have been paid for so far, and today the first 50 are being sent out to the University Central Hospital of Kigali.

You can read more about their success on the website of the Canadian Medical Association.

Lifebox is grateful to everyone who contributed, and to the memory of the man who inspired them.  “Vince was an incredibly important part of the department,” said Dr Houston.  “He lived a set of values that we all believed in.”