Sir Thomas Roddick, MD

A visionary in establishing national standards in medicine

The Late Sir Thomas Roddick, MD was a physician, educator and Member of Parliament who changed the face of Canadian medicine. He is best known as one of the earliest promoters of antisepsis as common practice in Canada. Dr. Roddick saved countless lives by advancing awareness of this discovery at a time when high post-operative infection rates were standard. Moreover, he was among the first to use these antiseptic methods to treat wounded soldiers. Dr. Roddick’s greatest achievement, however, was a political legacy - one that united the provinces in offering better medical care. His concern for patient safety in light of unstandardized medical education and practice led him to advocate for a uniform system that would encourage consistent care. After 18 years of tireless work, the Canada Medical Act, also known as “The Roddick Bill,” was enacted and the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) was established. His many honours included recognition as ‘honorary president for life’ of the Canadian Medical Association, honorary fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons of England and membership in the Royal Society of Canada.

Note: Dr. Roddick's accomplishments were meritorious, however his record of service during a time when the Canadian Government breached terms of treaties with Indigenous communities must also be noted. Dr. Roddick was called to serve as part of Canada’s first military medical corps during the North-West Resistance as a field surgeon and was charged with both surgical and administrative duties. The CMHF acknowledges this fact in Dr. Roddick’s career, understanding that we must learn from history and recognize this battle that had lasting and traumatic effects on Indigenous communities, especially our Métis colleagues.

About the CMHF

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world, fostering future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs and awards.

This enduring tribute to our country’s rich medical history is showcased here and in our physical exhibit hall in London, ON.