Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Ten Thousand Crossroads

The Path as I Remember It

by (author) Balfour Mount

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2021
Personal Memoirs
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2021
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Recognized as the father of palliative care in North America, Balfour Mount facilitated a sea change in medical practice by foregrounding concern for the whole person facing incurable illness. In this intimate and far-reaching memoir, Mount leads the reader through the formative moments and milestones of his personal and professional life as they intersected with the history of medical treatment over the last fifty years. Mount's lifelong pursuit of understanding the needs of dying patients began during his training as a surgical oncologist at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital in the 1960s. He established the first comprehensive clinical program for end-of-life care in a teaching hospital in 1975 at McGill University's Royal Victoria Hospital, thus leading the charge for palliative medicine as a new specialty. His journey included collaboration with two storied healthcare innovators, British hospice pioneer Dame Cicely Saunders and American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, leading to a more fulsome understanding of the physical, psychosocial, and existential or spiritual needs of patients, their families, and their caregivers in the health care setting. This compelling narrative documents how the 'Royal Vic' team became internationally recognized as effective advocates of quality of life at the crossroad between life and death. From meetings with Viktor Frankl, the Dalai Lama and other teachers, to a memorable telephone chat with Mother Teresa, Mount recalls with appreciation, humour and humility, the places and people that helped to shed light on this universal human experience.

About the author

Inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2017, Balfour Mount is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at McGill University and the founder of McGill's biennial International Congresses on Care of the Terminally Ill. An Officer of the Order of Canada, a

Balfour Mount's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Embedded in Balfour Mount's fascinating autobiography is crucial insight into the birth of a medical subspecialty that became a movement in society: the attempt to offer relief from emotional and physical suffering at the end of life." Gregory Fricchione, Harvard Medical School

"Ten Thousand Crossroads is upbeat, full of excitement, fair-minded when dealing with opposing views, highly emotional at times, and very funny at others. Balfour Mount has been the leader in the palliative care movement in Canada and this story of struggle and triumph will interest anyone with questions about general care at end of life." Peter Kopplin, emeritus professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Related lists