John Earl Wynands (Earl) is Emeritus Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Ottawa, in the capital city of Canada. Born in Montreal, Earl obtained his MD at McGill University in 1954, interned in Bridgeport, Connecticut, then returned to McGill to train in Anesthesiology. He joined the faculty in 1959, and served as Chief of Cardiac Anesthesia from 1970 to 1988. In 1988 Earl was recruited to the University of Ottawa where he served as Chairman, and Chief of Anesthesia at the Ottawa Civic Hospital and Ottawa Heart Institute until 1996. He established the University of Ottawa Patient Care Simulation Center, and served as the center’s director for 11 years after his retirement from clinical practice in 1997.
Earl is perhaps best known in the cardiac anesthesiology world for his contributions to the care of patients undergoing revascularization of the heart, beginning with those undergoing the Vineberg procedure in the 1960’s (where the internal mammary artery was “tunneled” into the myocardium). His seminal article entitled “Coronary Artery Disease and Anesthesia” was published in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesiology in 1967, and was followed by more than 100 publications over the next 30 years, including a series of papers in the 1980s on opioid “anesthesia.”
Earl has been recognized as a leader throughout his career. He has served as the President of the Canadian Society of Anesthesiologists and President of our own Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists. He has received the highest level of award from both societies: the Gold Medal from the Canadian Society, and the first Distinguished Service Award from the SCA. In 2001 he was awarded an honorary doctorate (PhD) from the University of Montreal. Wherever he has worked, Earl has been a major resource to his colleagues and students, providing a sympathetic ear, offering wise and compassionate feedback and advice both professional and personal. Anyone with the good fortune to have known Earl realizes they have been touched by a unique and wonderful human being.
Throughout his career, Earl has been challenged by impaired vision. His example of superb professional skill, teaching, achievement, and humanity would be an inspiration in someone without this disability, but is all the more so in Earl. While Chair at the University of Ottawa, he established the first professional assistance program in Canada for impaired and disabled physicians. His contribution to our specialty and his personal example led to him being awarded in 1998 the highest honor to a Canadian citizen: the Order of Canada. In 2002 he received the Golden Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth II, commemorating the 50th anniversary of her reign as Queen of Canada.
Earl lives in Ottawa with his devoted wife Mary, who has supported him and accompanied him through his many achievements and travels over his career. Earl and Mary are the proud parents of six children and grandparents of 13.