Harold Griffith Memorial Lecture.
The Griffith legacy

by
Sykes K.
University of Oxford.
Can J Anaesth. 1993 Apr;40(4):365-74.


ABSTRACT

1992 was the anniversary of Crawford Long's use of ether in 1842, and Griffith and Johnson's introduction of Intocostrin into anaesthetic practice in 1942. Harold Randall Griffith was born in Montreal in 1894 and died in 1985. He interrupted his medical studies to serve in the first world war and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry at the battle of Vimy Ridge. Griffith qualified from McGill University in 1922. After spending a year studying homoeopathic medicine, he joined his father's general practice and became the anaesthetist to the Homoeopathic Hospital in Montreal. He succeeded his father as Medical Director of the hospital (now renamed the Queen Elizabeth Hospital) in 1936 and retired in 1966. Griffith was a superb clinical anaesthetist. He was an early advocate of detailed anaesthetic records, and was responsible for the introduction of both ethylene and cyclopropane into Canadian practice, later teaching himself to intubate under these two agents. Griffith was one of the first to be concerned with standards of patient care. He introduced postoperative recovery and intensive care units into Canadian practice and played a major role in postgraduate teaching. He was unstinting in his support of organisations designed to further the progress of anaesthesia and was the first President of the Canadian Anaesthetist's Society. He was one of those responsible for inaugurating the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiology and was President of the First World Congress of Anaesthesiology in 1955. It is remarkable that the introduction of curare into anaesthetic practice was delayed until 1942, since curare had been used in anaesthesia some 30 years previously. However, it was probably Griffith's confidence in his own clinical abilities which enabled him to seize the opportunity when it was offered.
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