Lives of the fellows

Stanley Graham Ross

b.29 April 1888 d.26 March 1980
DSO MC MD CM McGill(1913) FRCP(1938) FRCP(C)(1949)

Stanley Graham Ross died in Montreal, Canada, in his ninety-second year. He had been associated with the Montreal Children’s Hospital since 1919.

Graham Ross was born in Dundas, Ontario, the son of Dr James Ross, a member of a pioneer Quebec family and a graduate of the McGill Medical School. Graham too came to McGill, graduating in arts in 1910 and in medicine in 1913. Postgraduate training at the Royal Victoria Hospital was interrupted in 1914 by the outbreak of World War I. As an officer in the Sixth Field Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps, he served with great distinction on active service from the autumn of 1914 until the war’s end in 1918. He was awarded both a DSO and an MC for ‘bravery in the field’.

Following discharge from the army, he spent a year at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. On his return to Canada in 1919, he was appointed assistant physician to the Montreal Children’s Hospital - at that time the Children’s Memorial Hospital- and to the staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital. He decided to pursue further study at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, where, in Dr Howland’s department, he had two research years in the laboratory with James Gamble and Frederick Tisdale. Their memorable pioneer work, published in a classic paper in 1923 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, did much to clarify the problems of electrolyte metabolism in sick babies. These three young investigators were among the first to see the importance of electrolyte balance, and their research helped set the stage for all that has gone on since.

In 1922 he resumed his hospital responsibilities in Montreal and soon was recognized as a sound clinician, a gifted teacher and a critical scientist. At the Royal Victoria Montreal Maternity Hospital it is recalled that he was responsible for the introduction of newborn care under paediatric responsibility. To his patients he was their beloved physician; to house physicians he was their model of the doctor who gave unstintingly of his skill, time and energy for the benefit of others; to his professional colleagues abroad he was that highly respected Canadian paediatrician.

Graham Ross was a gracious host, an avid reader, keenly interested in world events. In his younger years he had studied Greek and on retirement from practice, he returned to the University, to refresh his skill so that he might enjoy to the full his reading in the original Greek.

While still active he had been an ardent fisherman, usually accompanied by enthusiastic friends. His interest in nature was evident both in his gardening and his development of a successful tree farm near his lake in the Laurentians.

His general influence in the profession can be seen by his election to the presidency of the Montreal Medical-Chirurgical Society and of the Association of Paediatricians of the Province of Quebec, of which he was a founding member. He was a former president of the Canadian Pediatric Society, and vice-president of the prestigious American Pediatric Society, at a time when few Canadian paediatricians were recognized outside their own country.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
Valérie Luniewska

[Compiled from Minutes of the Council of Physicians and Dentists, Montreal Children’s Hospital, Canada]

(Volume VII, page 506)

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