The Prince Edward Island–Mayo Clinic Connection: Malcolm B. Dockerty and Lewis B. Woolner Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • CONTEXT: Malcolm B. Dockerty and Lewis B. Woolner, 2 preeminent mid-20th-century surgical pathologists, spent their entire careers at the Mayo Clinic. Both were raised in poverty on potato farms only 49 miles apart in Canada's smallest province (Prince Edward Island); both were educated in 1-room schools and graduated as gold medalists from Prince Edward Island's only college and then from Maritime Canada's only medical school; both then trained at the Mayo Clinic. OBJECTIVE: To explore the lives and accomplishments of these 2 important surgical pathologists. DESIGN: Standard historiographic methods were used to explore primary and secondary historical sources. RESULTS: Both became world-renowned general surgical pathologists, one developing subspecialty expertise in gynecologic pathology and the other in cytopathology, pulmonary pathology, and thyroid/parathyroid pathology. Both were prolific authors with h-indices higher than 40, and between them, they published more than 750 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. As educators, they trained hundreds of pathology and surgery residents/fellows who disseminated their knowledge around the world. Both were fascinated by poetry from childhood and could quote the classics from memory. One wrote poetry throughout his entire life and even used it to teach pathology and serve as his memoir; the other strongly preferred the classics and in jest called his colleague "a (minor) poet." Both received postretirement honorary doctorates from their alma maters. Dockerty died in 1987; Woolner celebrates his 100th birthday on November 17, 2013. CONCLUSION: Every pathologist should know of these 2 pioneering surgical pathologists.

publication date

  • March 2014