Dr. Wilbert J. Keon is an exemplary Canadian and world-revered cardiac surgeon. He is regarded by colleagues as an icon and by patients as the essence of the caring spirit in medicine. A visionary, Dr. Keon turned his dream to build a cardiovascular institute into a magnificent reality as the founder of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 1976. The Institute which now bears his name has risen to an international standard of excellence.
It was Keon’s concept that cardiology and cardiac surgery should work more closely together in the prevention and care of cardiovascular disease. He situated the patient investigative unit, surgical unit and medical care unit on the same floor believing this would improve patient care. Indeed, this was true and many lives have been saved as a result. This insightful strategy enabled the University of Ottawa Heart Institute to grow and develop into a world leader in reperfusion of acute heart attacks which is an enormous contribution to the field.