William Webster: author of Canada’s first anesthesia textbook
He was a leader in anesthesia not only in Winnipeg but the rest of Canada as well. An inquisitive nature and interest in research resulted in his pioneering of many new anesthetic techniques in Western Canada. His textbook, The Science and Art of Anesthesia (Figure) was published in 1924 and remained the only Canadian textbook of anesthesia for most of that century. Webster served as a colonel in the First World War and commanded the number 4 field ambulance. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his “valour under fire.”
Dr. Webster’s interest in motor cars (including owning one of the first cars in Manitoba) resulted in his appointment as the first President of the Manitoba Motor League. He was also an ardent sailor, tragically resulting in a boating accident that caused his death in 1934. William Webster was a true Canadian pioneer in anesthesiology.
An autonomous Department of Anesthesia at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg was not formed until 1967.
Conflicts of interest
This submission was handled by Dr. Hilary P. Grocott, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.