May Health Peace and Contentment be Yours

Did You Know?

Dr. Abraham Groves of Canada "performed the first successful appendectomy in N America (10 May 1883) and was as skillful in a farm kitchen as in a hospital operating room - sterilizing his instruments before it became standard practice."

Historica Canada. (2014). "Abraham Groves". Retrieved from:

The Surgery

"At a given instant everything the surgeon knows suddenly becomes important to the solution of the problem. You can't do it an hour later, or tomorrow. Nor can you go to the library and look it up." (John W. Kirklin)

Until the Chilliwack Hospital opened in 1912, patients in need of hospital care travelled by steamboat to New Westminster. Occasionally, though, itinerant surgeons stopped here. The first was likely the Nova Scotia born surgeon Dr. Thomas Robert McInnes, who became the sixth B.C. Lieutenant Governor. McInnes honed his skills during the American Civil War before travelling back to Canada, settling in New Westminster. He was attached to the Royal Columbian Hospital in that city. In December 1875 McInnes performed surgeries in Chilliwack on the two young Greyelle family boys whose feet were frozen while travelling to Langley.

Photograph (top right): Portrait of Dr. Thomas Robert McInnes. (ca.1900). Retrieved from:

However, surgeries were occasionally performed in Chilliwack, such as the 1906 successful appendicitis procedure performed on Annie Newby, daughter of William Newby, but it was not until the 1950s that Chilliwack had a full time surgeon. Prior to that time, general practitioners performed many routine operations.

Dr. Albert Phelps was Chilliwack’s first full time resident general surgeon who settled in Chilliwack in 1954. He was born in 1920. A few years later Dr. Henry Pauls joined Phelps. Other specialists such as radiologists, pediatricians, and otolaryngologist
(ear, nose and throat) doctors followed.

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