Dr Rod Gordon graduated BSC from the University of Saskatchewan in 1934 and MD from University of Toronto in 1937 where he also completed his anesthesia training.
As Major Gordon in the RCAMC during World War II, he served as anesthetist to a plastic reconstructive surgery team for battle injuries, especially those of the face. During that time he investigated the use of plastic endotracheal tubes, instead of the red rubber ones that could kink and obstruct breathing, and correctly forecast that they would eventually be so cheap that a new one could be used for each patient. He also developed apparatus for continuous intravenous infusion of pentothal (thiopental) to avoid the unpleasantness of ether. Fifty years later electronically controlled pumps are becoming popular with newer intravenous anesthetics.
In 1954 Dr Gordon founded the Canadian Anaesthetists' Society Journal (now the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia
), which soon gained international recognition. He was Editor 1954-82 and Editor Emeritus from 1983 until his death. He was professor and Head of the University Department and Anaesthetist-in-Chief at the Toronto General Hospital 1961-77 where he developed a strong academic department. He received awards, citations and honorary memberships in Canada and abroad.
Dr Gordon had an important influence on anesthesia outside Canada. He established the Canadian Anaesthetists' Society Anesthesia Training and Relief Fund (now the International Education Foundation) in 1966. This provides support for anesthesia education in developing countries, originally Nigeria and recently Ethiopia and Nepal. He helped to establish the University Department of Anesthesia in Lagos, Nigeria, and received overseas doctors for anesthesia training in Toronto. He was Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Second World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in Toronto in 1960, and Vice- President of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists 1968-72.
The Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society R A Gordon Clinical Research Award recognizes his lifelong contribution to Canadian anesthesia.
J Roger Maltby, MB, BChir, FRCA, FRCPC
Former Chair, CAS International Education Foundation