Dr. Angus McLachlin
Founder – Southwestern Ontario Surgical Association
Born in St. Thomas, Dr. Angus D. McLachlin was the captain of the Mustang football team, who is said to have played every minute of every game; a Rhodes Scholar; and an officer commanding the Number 10 Canadian Field Surgical Unit in northwestern Europe during World War II.
Serving as the chair of the Department for nearly 30 years, he was known for being a craftsman of the technical aspects of surgery and a strong educator. He passed on his skill and dedication to three decades of surgeons, many of whom continue to practice across Southwestern Ontario. He also is credited for establishing the sub-surgical approach to residency at Western University.
Dr. McLachlin maintained a research interest especially in venous physiology. His practice was large and varied covering all areas of general surgery. He had a special interest in orthopedic and pediatric surgery. He was active in many surgical societies and served as President of the Central Surgical Association and Regent of the American College of Surgeons.
As a surgeon, he is remembered for his encompassing commitment to patient care and his insistence for excellence. “His belief was that patients deserved the best,” recalled Dr. William Wall, MD’70, who was one of Dr. McLachlin’s residents. “He believed that only if you were giving 100 per cent all the time, could the patients’ interests be best served.”
Dr. Meads, who also trained with the Chief agreed. “He was a perfectionist who was honest, dedicated, diligent, and unwavering in his principles,” said Dr. Meads. “He lived for the practice of surgery.”
Dr. McLachlin expected good judgment and sound surgical techniques to be used by his trainees. His approach to training is legendary. Whether through his seminars for undergraduate students or his famed Sunday school sessions with residents, he was superb at simplifying the practice of surgery and passing on his knowledge.
Over the next thirty years Dr. McLachlin trained many General Surgeons now practicing in London and Southwestern Ontario. He encouraged his residents to go into the new surgical specialties and he developed the specialties at Western. He initiated a strong teaching program and established the regular seminars known locally as “Sunday School”.
The Angus D. McLachlin Professorship was established in 1991 through the generous support of former trainees and colleagues—in honour of Dr. McLachlin’s dedication and contributions as an esteemed teacher and clinician. Previous holders of the McLachlin Professorship include Dr. Bill Jamieson, Dr. Ed Meads, Dr. Robert Bourne, Dr. Robert Litchfield, Dr. Doug Ross, Dr. Brian Taylor, and Dr. Vivian McAlister.
The Professorship provides funding to a surgeon who has a strong focus on surgical education and teaching. And with that, the holder has an opportunity to spend time away from the clinic to advance surgical education and teaching. For example, Dr. Edward Meads, MD’63, directed the available funding to support medical students to pursue global health electives overseas. Meanwhile, Dr. Brian Taylor, MD’75, helped to revamp the surgical curriculum for undergraduate medical education.