Our History

Medical Milestones  

A quick glance at a few of the major accomplishments made at the MUHC over the past two centuries:


World first: Launch of Quebec registry for users of medical cannabis 

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC) have launched a registry for users of medical cannabis in Quebec that will allow physicians to better manage its use and monitor patient safety. This innovative project represents the world’s first research database on the use of cannabis for medical purposes and places the province at the forefront of research in the field of medical cannabis. The registry was launched in response to a call by the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) for guidelines on the use of medical cannabis in accordance with new government regulations. As of April 1, 2014, cannabis can only be prescribed “within a research framework,” as it is not a medically recognized treatment.

Largest hospital move in Canada is complete

Today, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) completed the final phase of the largest hospital move ever carried out in Canada. In two hours, 17 inpatients were transferred safely from the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) to the MUHC’s Glen site.

Two RI-MUHC recipients set out to make new discoveries in prostate cancer research 

RI-MUHC team receives a $200, 000 grant awarded by the Movember Foundation and Prostate Cancer Canada. Fourteen forward-thinking Canadian prostate cancer researchers have been rewarded for their innovation with Movember Discovery Grants, funded by the Movember Foundation through Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC). The winners were selected based on novel research projects that have the potential to make a significant difference in a number of areas across the spectrum of prostate cancer research.

The Montreal Children's Hospital successfully moved to new home 

As part of Canada’s biggest hospital move, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) completed today at 10:57 am the transfer of the Montreal Children’s Hospital to the Glen site. Following the same rigorous methodology that proved effective for the adult patients transfer on April 26, 66 young patients were safely moved in a well-orchestrated operation which lasted 3 hours 57 minutes.

The Royal Victoria Hospital has now moved 

Today, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) conducted the largest hospital move ever carried out in Canada, as 154 inpatients (139 adults and 15 babies) were safely transferred from the Royal Victoria Hospital to the Glen site. This move, which lasted 5 hours 20 minutes, is one of the key redeployment operations of MUHC 2015.

MUHC conducts first islet cell transplant in Quebec 

The MUHC has conducted the first islet cell transplant in Quebec. The breakthrough was made at the Glen site of the MUHC after the complex process of isolating islet cells from a donor pancreas was achieved at the MUHC Human Islet Transplant Laboratory. The procedure, which does not require surgery and reduces hospital stays ten-fold, is a significant advancement in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, and marks the first step in what researchers hope will be the development of a regional network for this novel therapy.  

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Helping the MCH patients… one app at the time! 

My First Surgery is now available on iTunes to help parents and patients better prepare for their first time in the operating room. Dr. Robert Baird, a practicing surgeon at the Montreal Children's Hospital, saw a need for a communications tool that could help ease parents' anxiety about the process. The interactive app breaks down each step by explaining what will happen before, during and after the surgery. Undergoing surgery is never easy for a child—or a parent-- but this app will help make the entire process a little less scary. In addition, the Department of Emergency has improved the experience of patients in the waiting room by creating an app through SMS alert, a text-in service that informs parents about the time of wait in the waiting room.  

Woman saved by pig liver: MUHC doctors celebrate pioneering procedure 

Twenty years ago, a breakthrough procedure at the Royal Victoria Hospital saved a woman’s life and spurred research into organ transplants. When Mavis McArdle fell into a coma because her liver couldn't filter blood properly, Dr. Jean Tchervenkov, former head of the RVH’s transplant program, and his team decided to use a pig's liver as temporary life support. They connected it to McArdle's veins so that it would clean her blood like a dialysis machine. The pig's liver kept her alive for several hours until a human liver was available the following day. Last December, McArdle reunited with her medical team to celebrate the anniversary and to encourage organ donation. For the moment, only human organs are compatible for transplants, but Dr. Tchervenkov expects McGill doctors to transplant pig kidneys successfully into humans by the year 2020. 

The MUHC presents a new antidote to the 'Dr Google' phenomenon 

Self-diagnosis is nothing new, but as Internet access increases, more people than ever are turning to the web for medical advice – the so-called Dr. Google phenomenon. But how can we be sure the information we find is accurate and reliable when we “search” our symptoms? Several years ago, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) launched its very own antidote to Dr. Google – the MUHC Patient Education Office. Now, after incorporating feedback from patients, healthcare workers and the general public, the MUHC is launching the education office on a new platform, which is tablet-compatible, search engine-optimized and social media-connected. The site can be found at www.muhcpatienteducation.ca

MUHC Slashes Errors and Spurs Patient Engagement 

A 60% drop in medication transcription errors and a 75% reduction in admission times for mental health patients were just two of the significant improvements seen from a major care re-design project at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). 

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How the body aids and abets the spread of cancer 

The very system that is meant to protect the body from invasion may be a traitor. These new findings of a study, led by investigators at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), reveal that infection-fighting white blood cells play a role in activating cancer cells and facilitating their spread to secondary tumours. This research, published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has significant implications for both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Big Brain : First-ever3D atlas of the brain

In September, The Neuro launched BigBrain, the first 3D atlas of the brain’s microscopic structures, a close-up of the billions of neurons, or brain cells, whose properties hold the secrets of healthy and diseased brain function. The atlas is reconstructed from 7,400 brain sections, each as thin as saran wrap. 

HIV self-testing : the key to controlling the global epidemic 

A new international study has confirmed that self-testing for HIV is effective and could be the answer to controlling the global epidemic. This major systematic review, led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), shows HIV self-testing removes much of the fear and stigma associated with being tested for the disease. This study, which is published in PLoS Medicine is the first of its kind and could pave the way for early detection and treatment around the world, thereby reducing transmission.

New microsite promotes commitment to improving patient safety
The MUHC launched a user-friendly web microsite designed to inform patients about safety processes and initiatives. The initiative reflects the MUHC’s commitment to creating a culture of transparency and accountability. 

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Genetic breakthrough for brain cancer in children

An international research team led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) has made a major genetic breakthrough that could change the way pediatric cancers are treated in the future.

Three MUHC discoveries among Québec Science magazine’s top 10 of 2011

Breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s and orthopedic surgery included in annual ranking.

MUHC lifts restrictions on cell phone use in hospitals

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has become the first hospital in Quebec to allow patients and visitors to use their cell phones within the institution. The move follows the successful completion of a pilot project that assessed the use of cell phones in certain areas of the MUHC. Although some restrictions will still apply, cell phones will be permitted in most waiting areas, clinics and patient rooms throughout the six sites of the MUHC. The new policy will allow patients greater freedom to keep in touch with family members and friends, whist maintaining patient safety and privacy. 

RI MUHC launches Montreal component of Canada-wide aging study 

By 2025, it is estimated that one in five Canadians will be over 65. The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) and McGill University launched the Montreal component of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) – one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted on aging.

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The BCG World Atlas A world first in the fight against tuberculosis: McGill, RI MUHC researchers launch free online atlas of TB vaccination policies from around the world.

Introducing the world’s first intubation robot McSleepy developer uses "KIS" to increase precision and safety of intubation McSleepy developer uses "KIS" to increase.

Blood test for Alzheimer's MUHC study identifies procedure that detects early stages. New blood test that will diagnose Alzheimer’s.

Prestigious Pearl Meister Greengard Prize to be awarded to pioneering memory researcher Brenda Milner Honouring female scientists who have made extraordinary contributions to biomedical science.

Montreal researchers awarded for pioneering research into music and brain.

MUHC surgeons perform scarless surgery For the first time in Canada, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) surgeons have performed a completely incisionless and scarless surgery.

Champions of Genetics Building the Next Generation Grant: Canadian Gene Cure Foundation Awards Dr. Nada Jabado.

Depression treatment combined with heart attack medication Risk of bleeding increases: A new study conducted by researchers at the MUHC was published this week.

Eating your greens can change the effect of your genes on heart disease, say researchers The research, which represents one of the largest gene-diet interaction studies ever conducted on heart disease.

New target identified to stop the spread of breast cancer A new potential target to slow breast cancer tumor progression and metastasis has been identified by a team of researchers. 

Patient Safety and Quality microsite reveals data on incidents, accidents, ED and elective surgery wait times at MUHC hospitals Promotes MUHC culture of accountability and transparency, aims to improve patient safety.

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We've Started: The start of construction at the Glen Campus of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has begun. At this event, the consortium selected to develop this pivotal project was unveiled.

The Montreal Children's Hospital unveils cutting edge intraoperative MRI: A new intraoperative magnetic resonance (MRI) unit, the first of its kind in a Canadian pediatric hospital, went on-line in The Montreal Children’s Hospital this year.

Dr. Phil Gold inducted into Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Dr. Judith Ritchie wins 2010 Excellence through Evidence Award. Dr. Balfour M. Mount inducted into the Academy of Great Montrealers. 

Lung Cancer Navigation Program coaches patients through complicated cancer therapy: Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers, and treatment is complex, often involving radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

Celebrating 75 years of excellence: The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – the Neuro – marked its 75th anniversary.

The Montreal Chest Institute celebrates 100 years of excellence: The Montreal Chest Institute celebrated the 100th anniversary of its opening by King Edward VII. In honour of the occasion, Queen Elizabeth II sent a letter to congratulate the Institute on its accomplishments in respiratory medicine over the last century.

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MUHC Cancer Mission receives top marks from Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services: The MUHC’s Cancer Care teams received exceptional accreditation ratings from Quebec’s Direction de la lutte contre le cancer. The MUHC was awarded the most level-four designations in the province—the highest ranking possible—as well as the greatest number of supra-regional status designations. These teams set the regional standards for cancer care.

Canada’s first portable CT scanner benefits patients at The Neuro: Patients at the Montreal Neurological Hospital and Institute now benefit from Canada’s first portable computerized tomography (CT) scanner. Since the portable CT scanner can be used at various locations in the hospital, it eliminates the need to transport severely ill patients for scanning and minimizes assessment time.

New CT scanner officially inaugurated at Lachine Campus: A new high-precision CT scanner was inaugurated at Lachine Hospital – one of the first steps in creating the MUHC Advanced Medical Imaging Centre at the Lachine Campus. The acquisition of this new scanner, valued at $1.5 million, will further enhance the hospital’s quality of care and allow staff to treat more people.

MUHC Breast Cancer Navigation Kit helps patients cope: To help women with breast cancer understand and cope with the disease and its treatment, the MUHC has developed an innovative patient resource: the Breast Cancer Navigation Kit. The kit has four sections: About Breast Cancer, Body-Mind-Spirit, After Treatment Ends and Practical Information. Patients are encouraged to bring the kit to each appointment.

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New Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Montreal Chest Institute: The new ICU includes individual rooms with flat-screen TVs, patient lifts and an enhanced ventilation system and nursing monitoring station. The $1.8 million project was financed by the Montreal Chest Institute Foundation through the “Best Care For Life” campaign.

The world’s first robot anesthesiologist, “McSleepy:" The world’s first robot anesthesiologist, “McSleepy”, joined the surgery team this year. The MUHC-developed technology constantly monitors patients during surgery and adjusts and administers anesthetic drugs, allowing its human colleagues to focus more on other aspects of direct patient care.

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Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program: Adolescents and young adults have a lot to deal with: leaving home, starting university, and launching a career. For some, there is another life-altering source of stress: a diagnosis of cancer. Ready to help is the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program.

The Child Development Program: Based at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Child Development Program helps children who require special assistance with complex issues such as socio-emotional health, language or behaviour.

Enlisting robots to help with surgery: The newest member of the MUHC health care team is actually a machine – a surgical robot to be precise. Robotic surgery allows surgeons to perform prostate surgery more quickly and with greater precision, for faster recovery. 

Family medicine comes to the community: Good family medicine starts with good access. That’s why the MUHC Family Medicine Department relocated this year to a highly-accessible, extended-hours clinic in the heart of NDG.

Lifesaving new procedure a resounding success: In a world’s first, surgeons at the MUHC, led by Dr. Renzo Cecere, implanted a minimally-invasive cardiac support system, called the Impella 5.0, into a patient suffering from acute rejection after a heart transplant. The life saving operation allowed the patient’s condition to stabilize and respond to anti-rejection medications.

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First frozen egg baby born in Canada: The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal is pleased to announce the first successful birth in Canada resulting from frozen eggs. Read the press release.

Surgeons at the MUHC have successfully implanted a new kind of mechanical heart in two patients, the first time this new technology has been used in Canada. Read the press release.

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MUHC Doctors Perform First Artificial Ureter Reconstruction in Canada: Dr. Steven Paraskevas, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) transplant surgeon, and Dr. Maurice Anidjar, MUHC urologist, recently performed the first artificial ureter reconstruction in Canada. A first-ever study of how evolving diagnostic and therapy guidelines in conjunction with community programs affect breast cancer population mortality. Read the press release.

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Investigators at the Research Institute of the MUHC identify a gene that regulates the susceptibility to tuberculosis. An international research team led by MUHC Research Institute scientists Dr. Erwin Schurr and Dr. Thomas Hudson, identify a gene on chromosome 6 that makes people vulnerable to leprosy.

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Mechanical heart device (Berlin heart) is used successfully for the first time in Canada at the MCH as a bridge to transplant on the youngest patient ever in North America. Launch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Centre for Beta Cell Replacement at McGill University and Université de Montréal, headed by Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg of the MUHC MUHC researchers identify a gene underlying a common form of epilepsy. Investigators from the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology find that organs can be successfully transplanted following freezing and storage in liquid nitrogen.

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First hospital in Quebec (MUHC team) to perform EXIT Procedure (EX-utero Intrapartum Treatment) to deliver a baby


First Foetal Diagnosis and Treatment Group: Developed as a McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) team


Doctors deliver the world's first twin birth following drug-free in-vitro maturization.


The MUHC becomes the first teaching hospital among Canada's universities to eliminate film in CT Scans, MRI's and ultrasound.


First Transcultural Psychiatry Clinic in Quebec


First pediatric hospital in Quebec to create a Short Stay Unit First Multicultural Clinic in Quebec


First pediatric voice and speech laboratory (Gustav Levinschi Laboratory) in Canada


First pediatric hospital in Quebec to offer transoesophageal echography for young children


First hospital in Quebec to have a Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit First pediatric hospital in Quebec to offer magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)


First hospital in Quebec to offer Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation - ECMO First living donor pediatric renal transplant program in Quebec First hospital in Quebec to develop a Pediatric Advanced Life Support Program (PALS)


Doctors perform Canada's first hearing device bone-implant on a child. First hospital in Quebec to establish an Injury Prevention Program


Heart transplant to the youngest recipient ever in Canada


Doctors perform Quebec's first Cochlear implant in a child.


Canada's youngest liver recipient undergoes successful organ transplant.


The first North American mini-cyclotron are installed.


Doctors perform Canada's first pediatric bone marrow transplant.


First CT scan performed in a pediatric setting in Canada


Canada's first EMI body scanner is installed. First hospital in Canada to establish a community pediatric research program


Canada's first CT scanner is installed.


First hospital in Quebec with a Pediatric Burn Unit


First therapeutic heart catheterization in Canada: A life-saving procedure to create a hole within the heart of a "blue baby"


First Canadian pediatric hospital to open a centre for children with learning disorders


Doctors perform the first kidney transplant in Canada. First Mental Assessment and Guidance Clinic for the intellectually handicapped in Quebec


Pioneering of open heart surgery and first operation in Québec on a child


First pediatric hospital in Canada to establish a Psychiatry Department First pediatric hospital in Canada to establish a Department of Medical Genetics


First cardiac catheterization performed in Canada Canada's first cyclotron, the second largest such machine in the world, is installed in the Foster Radiation Laboratory.


Canada's first operation to repair a congenital heart defect is performed


The development of the first Canadian oto-laryngological soundproof room


First Speech Therapy department in a Canadian pediatric hospital


First respirator in the world designed: Later version known as the "Iron Lung"


First clinical X-ray taken in Canada


McGill creates Canada's first medical school.


Dr. William Robertson performs the first-ever operation at the newly built Montreal General Hospital (now MUHC).