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Medical History


The History of The Hospital for Sick Children

by (author) David Wright & The Hospital for Sick Kids

foreword by Mary Jo Haddad

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2016
History, General, General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
    List Price

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Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children is the most famous medical institution in Canada. In addition to being the largest pediatric centre in North America, it has earned an international reputation for clinical care and research that has influenced generations of health care practitioners across the country and around the world. In a very real sense, hospital staff have touched the lives of tens of thousands of children and their families.


SickKids has an equally remarkable history - from its humble origins in rented houses in Victorian Toronto, the Hospital would flourish to become an influential paediatric institution, pioneering Pasteurization, the Iron Lung for Polio, Pablum, the Mustard Procedure for 'Blue Babies', and the discovery of the gene for Cystic Fibrosis. It would also be the site of two of most famous medical controversies in modern Canadian history -- the suspected murder of two dozen babies in the early 1980s and, more recently, the whistle-blowing controversy involving the research scientist, Nancy Olivieri.


David Wright’s History of The Hospital for Sick Children chronicles this remarkable history of the SickKids, including its triumphs and tragedies, its discoveries and dead-ends. In doing so, Wright has crafted a compelling and accessible history of SickKids that anchors Toronto's children's hospital within the broader changes affecting Canadian society and medical practice over the last century.

About the authors

David Wright's profile page

Mary Jo Haddad is a visionary and energetic health care executive. She is currently a Senior Associate and CEO Mentor with Kilberry Leadership Advisors and the former president and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children.

Mary Jo Haddad's profile page

The Hospital for Sick Kids' profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘Wright’s history combines splendid scholarship with compelling readability and wise judgement. SickKids becomes difficult to put down, which is highest praise I can give for an institutional history.’

Canadian Historical Review vol 98:02:2017

‘SickKids is an impressive work of scholarship that should interest clinicians, historians, parents, and anyone interested in children’s health and social welfare policy.’

Journal of History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Online June 13 2017

‘Enlivened by aptly selected illustrations and lucid prose, SickKids is an outstanding contribution to medical history in Canada.’

Isis vol 108:04:2017

‘David Wright’s excellent history…provides the first comprehensive account of [Sickkids] hospital since its founding over 140 years ago…[This] book is highly recommended to historians interested in hospital, childcare, and pediatric medical/surgical history, and to the general interested reader.’

Historical Studies in Education Review Vol 30:1:2018

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