Dr. Lucille Teasdale-Corti is the name of one of Canada’s first female surgeons and a change-maker in the field of health. She spent most of her active years working in Uganda.
Her strong dedication to health led her to earn an MD from the University of Montreal in 1955, a Honorary Doctorate from the same university, and even a Gold Medal for Civil Merit in 2004 from Italy. She was widely recognized for her talent as a surgeon and won many awards. So what was a Canadian surgeon doing in Uganda?
Dr. Teasdale-Corti spent a huge portion of her career at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Uganda, serving patients at the hospital that she co-founded and managed with her husband. Through this, they were able to establish a school of nursing to train Ugandan health professionals. Along with the nursing school, she formed a partnership with Makere University in Kampala, where she helped to train surgical residents for 10 years. On top of this, Dr. Lucille Teasdale-Corti and her husband established "The Lucille Teasdale and Piero Corti Foundation" which is now run by their daughter, Dr. Dominique Corti.
She even continued to practice through heinous times during the Ugandan War! Her perseverance and dedication equipped her for tough challenges such as operating on soldiers from both factions of the war. Dr. Teasdale-Corti contracted AIDS while operating on a wounded soldier in 1982 but continued to work around 6 hours per day!
It comes as no surprise that the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada created an award in honour of Dr. Lucille Teasdale-Corti. This humanitarian award is presented to Canadian physicians that go above and beyond in exceptional circumstances, often while facing huge personal risks. She was also posthumously inducted by the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2004!
Her passion for her serving patients in Uganda has created a long-lasting legacy. Her hospital now treats over 250, 000 patients, employs over 6,000 Ugandans, and continues to train new doctors.
Now that is a legacy! But this is just a snapshot of her work - there's so much more that we could say about this incredible woman. Be sure to check out the links below if you want to learn more!
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(Photo Credits: Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, 2022)