Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“He was a great visionary.”

© Irma Coucill and the CMHF
2011 Inductee

Dr. Paul David

Born: 
December 25, 1919, Montreal, Quebec
Died: 
April 5, 1999
Education: 
MD - The University of Montreal
Dr. Paul David is considered Quebec's Father of Cardiology. An exceptional cardiologist with a pioneering spirit, Dr. David established the Montreal Heart Institute, or l'Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal, the birthplace of Canada's first heart transplant. Deeply religious and a dedicated physician, his commitment to the service of others transcended medical boundaries and led to his role as a senator.

After studying medicine at the University of Montreal, Dr. David pursued a new science yet in its infancy: cardiology. His early years of training with renowned cardiologists Paul Dudley White in Boston and Jean Lenègre in Paris instilled a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise in this discipline, and helped pave the future for Canada in cardiac studies.

Shortly after his return to Montreal in 1948, Dr. David was approached by the Sisters of Charity with a request to head the cardiology unit of Maisonneuve Hospital. A visionary at a young age, he insisted on being given an entire floor of the hospital complete with its own separate administration, foreseeing an institute dedicated entirely to the development of cardiology. In 1954, Dr. David's dream became a reality with the opening of the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI), Canada's first facility to consolidate all cardiology services under one roof. Considered the heart and soul of the MHI, Dr. David was the Institute’s director from its inception to his retirement in 1985. Home to Canada’s first heart transplant and first coronary angioplasty, the MHI is also credited with performing Quebec’s first open heart operation with cardiopulmonary bypass (or heart-lung machine). All attributed to the tenacity and determination of Dr. David.

Dr. David’s dedication to Canada never wavered, not even at the time of his retirement. It was at the age of 65 that he was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Mulroney, a role he was well acquainted with given that both his father and grandfather had been senators. An author of more than 170 scientific publications, Dr. David presided over many organizations, including that of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and l'Association des Médecins de Langue Française du Canada. A humanitarian, devoted husband and father of six children, Dr. David has left an impressive legacy due to his exceptional dedication to serving the needs of others.

The recipient of many illustrious awards, Dr. David was named Montrealer of the Year in 1981 and presented with two honourary degrees. Awarded an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1968, he was promoted to Companion in 1981, and in 1988 was designated Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Québec.