As you may know, I always sign off these blogs with “please stop by the Macklem House, my door is always open”. I’d like to dedicate this column to Peter Macklem, the famous Canadian physician, who last week was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. But first, a word about his mother, Katherine Bermingham Macklem.
Katherine Macklem was a friend to Queen’s. After her husband died, Mrs.Macklem surrounded herself with medical students taking them in as borders in her house. I remember a few years ago, Hugh Scully, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Toronto, was attending a reception at the Macklem House. He took me upstairs and showed me “his room”, the place he had lived in for a year while he was a Queen’s medical student. When Mrs. Macklem died, she left the house, in her estate, to Queen’s. It was first used by our clinical trials group and now it serves as the administrative offices of the decanal team. The house is a wonderful place to work. I always feel privileged to be there, overlooking Lake Ontario, and being constantly reminded of our Faculty’s rich history.
Katherine had two sons, Peter and Richard. A picture of the two boys hangs proudly in the “lobby area” of the house. I had the opportunity to meet Richard, Joy and the rest of the family at the celebration last week. Peter, who died suddenly 14 months ago, was one of my teachers as a medical student at McGill. Even “back then” Peter was a world renowned respirologist and respiratory physiologist. He made pioneering contributions to the study of small airway disease and the effects on the lung of smoking. Last week’s Medical Hall of Fame citation adds…”With a bold curiosity and a gifted intellect, Dr. Macklem’s impact was also felt in other areas of respiratory disease, ranging from asthma and stuttering to the study of the theory of complexity and its implications for pulmonary function.”1 Dr. Macklem has been richly honoured, including being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer in the Order of Canada. In 1999, Dr. Macklem was awarded the Trudeau Medal of the American Thoracic Society, the highest honour bestowed by the international respiratory community.
Peter’s wife Joy and their daughter Catherine, accepted Peter’s posthumous award and in a beautiful ceremony in Toronto last week. They are seen below receiving the medal from Alain Beaudet and Cecil Rorabeck.
If anyone has any stories about Peter Macklem, or the Macklem House, let us know, or better yet…please stop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.