May 14, 2019

Evidence Based Medicine is Less than 50 years old: born in Hamilton Ontario from an American doctor who made Canada home.

If you should poll students and scholars of medical history about the most important developments of modern health care, you would find something called Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) will be very high up on the list. That is the delivery and choices of medical treatments based on sound evidence. Based on scientific evaluation. Based on firm unbiased evaluation such as in double-blind clinical trials and ones that include placebo groups. Now, this seems logical to any of the medical students, ophthalmology residents and retinal fellows I teach about genetics, molecular biology and research in 2019.  Yet physicians born in the early 1990s were often under the care of medical doctors whose choices of treatments were not necessarily sound options based on unbiased evaluation of the evidence. Yes, over 20 years after humans first walked on the Moon, medical schools and the bodies that license physicians were promoting practices that had often evolved on their own over decades with some backed up by scientific examination but many that were not. Fortunately for us now, an American doctor moved to Canada in the 1960s just as universal healthcare was started nationwide and he realized that was the climate to established principals now considered essential to the teaching and practice of medicine. Evidence-Based Medicine. Who was this American who made Canada his home?