A Canadian Medical Family’s Humanitarian Legacy

By Gautham Krishnaraj, for the Canadian Red Cross Blog

“Over 150 years ago, the Red Cross  Red Crescent Movement was born in the wake of the Battle of Solferino in 1859. Movement founder Henry Dunant was so moved by the immense suffering he saw that he called upon local villagers to come to the aid of the wounded. Among those who responded to the call were the Women of Castiglione, countless European medical professionals and Norman Bethune – a Canadian surgeon from Ontario. Dunant himself spoke of Bethune in A Memory of Solferino, recognizing him by name as “Norman Bettun”.

Nearly a century later, Bethune’s grandson – also named Norman – would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, playing a critical role in the 1938 Sino (Chinese)-Japanese War. The younger Bethune was an established surgeon, having invented more than a dozen surgical devices, including the Bethune Rib Shears which are used to this day. During the 1936 Spanish Civil War, Bethune organized one of the first mobile blood transfusion services. He later travelled to China with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to lead a Canadian-American medical team during the Sino-Japanese War. He wore his Red Cross badge with pride, performing surgeries on the frontline to casualties on both sides of the conflict, as countless Red Cross surgeons continue to do to this day.”

Read more about the Bethune family and their contributions to humanitarian health care through the decades here: http://www.redcross.ca/blog/2018/8/a-family-on-the-frontlines—celebrating-norman-bethune

Reposted from original blog with permission of the author.


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