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Queen’s remembers John Murdoch

Assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine died on May 5 after battling a long illness.

John Murdoch
John Murdoch, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, died on May 5 after battling a long illness. (Supplied Photo)

The Queen’s community is remembering John Murdoch, an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, who died on May 5 after battling a long illness with courage and humour. He was in his 54th year.

Dr. Murdoch studied Medicine at Glasgow University, Class of 1991, after completing a Bachelor of Science in Immunology at the same university. He then completed his training in anesthesia in Scotland and experienced some time at Duke University in North Carolina, working as a visiting associate before joining Queen’s University and the Department of Anesthesiology in 2002. 

Dr. Murdoch continued the ethos of his Scottish university training and adopted Queen’s own mantra of substantial responsibilities for student discipline based, in part, on the tradition of student independence at Scottish universities. He understood the purpose of a teacher and under his aegis, many learner physicians and fledgling anesthesiologists have made the difficult transition from apprentice to veteran. The consequences of his time as a teacher are immeasurable and he created a benchmark for us all to aspire.

Along with his wife, Dr. Nicola Murdoch, he was an active member in teaching the next generation of medics at the Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences. Students found that he was true to his Celtic heritage by being practical and down-to-earth. He was brave and courageous and quick-witted to the end.

He was a valued clinician and teacher and will be remembered for his skill, dedication and compassion. Dr. Murdoch contributed in numerous ways to the department and to Kingston’s hospitals. He was the director of the Acute Pain Management Service and an active advocate for regional anesthesia. He also served as the department’s fellowship director, attracting many new anesthesiologists to Kingston locally and internationally, some of whom have remained. 

A keen researcher, Dr. Murdoch contributed to the expanding knowledge of topics in anesthesia and regional anesthesia techniques. His research championed the utilization of target-controlled infusions and total intravenous anesthesia, which has continued and taught scores of anesthesia residents and staff passing through our department. Continuing his legacy, he was also involved in the, now timely, exploration of effective PPE systems during the SARS outbreak published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Dr. Murdoch was an enthusiastic sailor, cyclist and skier, as well as a devoted husband and father.

A family obituary is available online