Dr. Wilfred Gordon Bigelow

Officer of the Order of Canada; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
(BA 1935 UC)
Dr. Wilfred Gordon Bigelow

Innovative heart surgeon William Gordon Bigelow was instrumental in the development of open-heart surgery and the cardiac pacemaker. As a captain in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during WWII, he performed transfusions and surgeries in the field. In the laboratory, he was a pioneer in the use of hypothermia to make open-heart surgery safer. Bigelow also discovered that stimulating a stopped heart with an electrical probe will resume its beating, paving the way for the pacemaker. He was a recipient of the Gairdiner Award for Medical Science and a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.