1995 INDUCTEE Bruce Chown, MD Blood

Born:

November 10, 1893

(Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Died:

July 3, 1986

Education:

MD, University of Manitoba (1922)

Awards & Honours:

1970: Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

1970: Honorary LLD, University of Saskatchewan

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Picture of Bruce Chown, MD

Developed the treatment for (Rhesus) Rh disease

Dr. Bruce Chown

An expert clinician, diagnostician, innovator and teacher

Dr. Bruce Chown became a pathologist at the Children's Hospital in Winnipeg and devoted his career to studying erythroblastosis fetalis, a fetal blood disorder often known as “Rh disease”. The disease occurs when a pregnant mother has a different Rh factor than her unborn child, causing her immune system to attack the baby, leading to devastating complications in the development of important organs such as the heart, lungs and brain, or even death in utero or post-delivery.

Dr. Chown subsequently set up a facility along with Connaught Laboratories to manufacture Rh immune serum. His work resulted in the prevention of the vast majority of potential Rh disease in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Key Facts

Became the first pediatrician in Manitoba

Involved in prevention of kernicterus, a brain disorder, by replacement transfusion and prevention of stillbirth by early delivery

Before Dr. Chown, Rh disease accounted for 10% of all fetal and neonatal deaths in Canada

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

With a keen intellect and scientific curiosity, Dr. Chown was an innovator whose work had a profound impact on the field of medicine. Once a widespread and deadly, Rh disease is now rarely seen in many countries of the world. Where the disease does exist, Chown’s work continues to save lives. His Rh immune globulin is still sold in 35 countries by Manitoba-based research firm Cangene.

Picture of Bruce Chown, MD

2020

  • Canada post stamp of Dr. Chown

    Canada Post stamp hours six Canadian medical groundbreakers

  • Bruce Chown inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Dr. Chown stepped down as Director of the Rh Laboratory in Winnipeg.

    He remained committed to his research, however, with the desire to work until no babies suffered from Rh disease.

  • Rh immunoglobulin was licensed for use in Canada

    Blood, Blood

    Used to prevent Rh disease, it has significantly decreased mortality rates related to this condition.

  • With a grant from the Canadian National Research Council, Bruce Chown established the Winnipeg Rh Laboratory

    Blood

    With his team of researchers, he developed an Rh antibody called “Rh Immune Globulin.

  • The rhesus (Rh) blood group system was discovered

    Blood

    Dr. Chown set to work in pioneering research and clinical trials – often coming to the hospital in the middle of the night to perform blood transfusions.

  • Upon his return to Canada, Dr. Chown became a pathologist at the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital.

    While in this role, he also accepted a position at the University of Manitoba, where he held a number of positions throughout his career, including the first full time Head of the Department of Pediatrics in Canada.

  • After serving as an artillery officer in the First World War, Chown decided pursue a career in medicine.

    He earned his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1922.

  • Dr. Chown decided to study pediatrics.

    After training at renowned institutions such as Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University, Dr. Chown became one of the few trained pediatricians in Canada.

1922

He had a keen intellect and curiosity that ultimately advanced medicine.