Dr. Frank Hamilton Mewburn,1858-1929

Dr. Frank Mewburn, n.d. Source: Lethbridge Archives

Early adventures in surgery

One of the earliest surgeons in Alberta, Dr. Frank Mewburn, arrived in Lethbridge in 1886.

Dr. Mewburn's first recorded surgery in Lethbridge took place in primitive conditions. He drained an abdominal abcess on a pool table in the local saloon with the local barber giving the patient Chloroform as an anesthetic. The surgery was a success, and the patient recovered.

Dr. Mewburn performed his daring surgery in 1890 in Fort Macleod with his friend Dr. George Kennedy. The patient – a North West Mounted Police carpenter — had osteomyelitis (a bone infection) that had led to a leg fracture. They inserted bone chips from a dog’s leg into the fracture, following the “Olliers Procedure” recently described in French and American medical journals.

Unfortunately, the graft didn’t take, and they had to remove the bone chips the next year. However, the patient survived for another 40 years (although one of his legs was 5 cm shorter than the other).

Get the whole story!

Read the full profile of Dr. Mewburn in Dr. Robert Lampard's "Alberta's Medical History"
Dr. Frank Mewburn >> 

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