Dr Claude Bertrand C.C.; B.A.; M.D.; F.A.C.S.; F.R.C.S. (C)
1917 - 2014
Dr Claude Bertrand, a Companion of the Order of Canada, went to join his beloved wife, Claire Paradis on August 7, 2014.
He is survived by his four children: Hélène (Herbert Grubel), Denise (Luc Pelland), Lucie (Charles Wheeler) and Louis (Renée Beaudry); his eleven grandchildren: Claire Cantlie (Ken Morrissey), Paul Cantlie, John Lewis Cantlie (Mona Khonsari), Marc Pelland (Geneviève Blouin), Sophie Pelland, Jean-Charles Pelland, Anne-Marie Wheeler, Patrick Wheeler, Helene Wheeler (Kevin Love), Stéphanie Bertrand (Georgios Lagoudakis) and Isabelle Bertrand (Benoit Mathieu); and his ten great-grandchildren, Nathan and Liana Morrissey, Nicholas and Elena Cantlie, Coralie and Xavier Pelland, Lucie and Charles Love, Elena Lagoudakis and Julien Bertrand.
Claude was a loving and determined man with a judicious mixture of pride and humility. He had a very rich spiritual, family and professional life.
The career of Doctor Claude Bertrand, who was known internationally, was centered on research. Already in 1943, during his training, he was Research Fellow at McGill University, from where he went into the Armed Forces. In 1946, he worked with Dr. Robert Malmo on the localization of functions within the parietal lobe in the minor hemisphere of the brain.
At the end of his stay at Oxford University, in 1947, he published his research on diffusion and absorption of fluids within the brain, the results of which were later confirmed by others with the use of isotopes. He was, with Doctor Jean-Louis Léger, neuroradiologist, the proponent of the use of arteriography in acute head injuries. With Doctor Harold Elliot, he initiated the Committee for road accidents in Canada.
In 1950, his interest in pain problems led him to review the spinal and brain pathways of ascending pain fibers, together with Doctor Louis Poirier of the Department of Anatomy of Université de Montréal.
This was the beginning of a productive collaboration, when, in 1954, the work on stereotactic surgery of involuntary movements was undertaken. This led to the finding of a safer and more selective method of suppression of involuntary movements. Selective denervation of muscles of the neck evolved from this work, using stimulation under light anaesthesia after recording of muscle activity and nerve blocks, thus enhancing considerably the knowledge of functions of the cervical musculature. A large number of Canadian and foreign patients suffering from spasmodic torticollis have obtained relief from this technique.
Doctor Bertrand was born in Sherbrooke in March 1917. He studied at the local Seminary, of which he is "Laureatus alumnus". Although his father and brother were surgeons, he started in engineering because of his attraction to mathematics. However, he changed to Medicine during the first year and obtained his MD degree "Magna cum Laude" in 1940 from the Université de Montréal. The same year, he became a Rhodes Scholar. After his residency in surgery in Pennsylvania and in Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute, he became member of the Royal Canadian Medical Corps in 1942. He finished his residency at the end of the War and went to Oxford University, where he worked in research under Professor Legros-Clarke.
In 1947, he started his career as a neurosurgeon at Notre-Dame Hospital, where he had been an intern in 1939. He was soon in charge of the Department of Neurosurgery. In 1952, he was appointed Chief of Neurosurgery; he fulfilled this function until 1972, when he became Chief Emeritus. He continued as an active member of the department.
He was a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (Canada) as well as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
He was elected President of the Research Committee and was life Member Emeritus of the Assemblée des Chercheurs de l'Hôpital Notre-Dame; he was also President of the Executive of the Medical Board, and a member of the Board of Notre-Dame Hospital. He was one of the three surgeons appointed by the Medical Research Council to review surgical research in Canada and he was also a member of the Medical Research Council of Canada for many years.
He was President of many medical societies, national and international, such as the Canadian Neurological Association, the Neurosurgical Society of America, the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery and the Société de Neurochirurgie de Langue Française. He was honorary member of many associations as well as having been visiting professor in many neurosurgical departments in North America and in Europe.
In 1969 he was North American Traveler for the James IV Association. In 1971 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and he was also awarded the Lawrence Poole Medal of the University of Edinburgh. In 1978, he received the Silver Medal of the European Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery as well as the Silver Medal of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was also Member Emeritus of the Canadian Medical Association.
His varied interests led him to become a member of the National Advisory Council on Health and Amateur Sports. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Lester B. Pearson International College, of the advisory committee of the Manning Foundation as well as a member or the board of many corporations.
The family will welcome relatives and friends, Monday, August 11, 2014 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at:
Mount Royal Funeral Complex
1297 chemin de la Forêt
Outremont, Quebec, H2V 2P9
Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at St-Viateur of Outremont Church (1175 Avenue Laurier Ouest, Outremont, Quebec).
In lieu of flowers, donations to "Chaire Claude Bertrand en neurochirurgie de l'Université de Montréal" would be appreciated. This chair continues Dr Bertrand's work in research and teaching for the advancement of neurosurgery. Under the chairmanship of Dr Richard Béliveau, his team made considerable progress in the care of brain tumours. The current chair, Dr Cailher, focuses the research efforts on studying inflammation in neurological diseases. Donations can be sent to Unversité de Montréal, with a mention of the name of the fund, « Chaire Claude Bertrand », at the following address : C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7.