Dr. George Allan Kennedy, 1858-1913

Dr. George A. Kennedy, n.d. Source: Glenbow Museum

Saving the life of a prominent Alberta lawyer

Dr. George Allan Kennedy saved the life of a future prominent Alberta lawyer, both with surgery and by draining and dressing his infected chest following a gunshot wound.


In 1878, Dr. George Kennedy became the first North West Mounted Police (NWMP) physician to come to Alberta (Fort Macleod) and stay. As the only physician, Kennedy dealt with all NWMP and ranching accidents. Fractures were common. Surviving penetrating injuries to the chest was very uncommon.

Kennedy was challenged when Sir Fredrick Haultain’s partner, lawyer C.C. McCaul, QC, accidentally shot himself in the chest while cleaning his gun on June 23, 1887. The bullet entered the top of the rib cage and exited through his shoulder blade. Luckily, it missed his heart and major vessels.

Kennedy treated McCaul conservatively until signs of infection appeared. Called again, Dr. Mewburn removed parts of two ribs underneath the right armpit, washed the chest cavity and left drains in place.
Read the story of Dr. Frank Hamilton Mewburn >>

For the rest of his life, the lawyer’s life depended on his wife and the wives of Drs. Kennedy and Mewburn, who all regularly changed and dressed his wound. Fortunately, McCaul’s wife was a nurse. 

In the early 1900s, C.C. McCaul became Alberta’s most prominent practicing lawyer, appearing in front of the Privy Council in England twice and writing many articles on law in the Territories and Alberta. A keen observer of local zoology, geology and history, McCaul collected and provided the meteorological data for Dr. Kennedy’s analysis of the effect of climate and Chinooks on health and disease in southern Alberta.

Get the whole story!

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

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