Remembering UofTMed Alumnus Dr. George Morrison

Sep 22, 2017

MD alumnus Dr. George MorrisonA proud UofTMed alumnus and long-time internal medicine specialist at the Fort William Clinic, a multidisciplinary group medical practice in Thunder Bay, Dr. George Morrison died June 1, 2017, surrounded by his family.

“George was a leader in the medical community,” says his colleague Dr. Morris Mymko. “He was the conscience of the Fort William Clinic. He expected a high quality of care and ethical behaviour from his partners.”

Dr. Morrison, MD 5T2, led many efforts to address health care gaps in Thunder Bay. He was instrumental in bringing renal services, including hemodialysis, to the area in 1969, and continued to run the unit until dedicated nephrologists were recruited in the 1980s. He also helped establish and run the Nuclear Medicine department at McKellar General Hospital.

Dr. Morrison held a strong belief that maintaining high standards for the practice of medicine through effective self-regulation was crucial to delivering quality health care and ensuring patient safety. He became involved in the first efforts in Ontario to implement physician peer review, as a member of the Medical Review Committee in 1971, and contributed to the development of peer assessment and quality assurance through his service on many committees and ultimately on the council of the College of Physician and Surgeons.

His involvement in these issues culminated when he served as President of the College from 1990-91, during a period when the College was grappling with the introduction of the Regulated Health Professions Act and the release of the College’s task force on sexual abuse of patients. An article at the time he became President described him as a small-town boy raised in traditions of honour and duty — just the kind of leader the College needed during a challenging time. 

“George’s contributions to medical regulation during his time on the College Council and, in particular, as Council President, were far reaching…his influence for good will continues in the lives of the many people he touched and within the profession he so greatly loved,” writes CPSO Registrar Dr. Rocco Gerace.

Beyond his practice at Thunder Bay’s Fort William Clinic, Dr. Morrison also took on many leadership roles in the community, including serving as Chief of Staff at McKellar General Hospital, as well as at St. Joseph’s Care Group and Thunder Bay Regional Hospital.

“George had such a remarkable personality,” says fellow UofTMed alumnus Dr. Jim Colquhoun, MD 5T1, who knew Dr. Morrison for over 70 years. “He was an outstanding internist who really cared about others. He was extremely committed to his patients, his colleagues – and to his profession.”

Dr. Morrison was also a dedicated community member and family man – a leader on numerous boards and committees, including the Thunder Bay Community Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Society of Thunder Bay, and was a loving husband, father and grandfather. 

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