McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Palliative care pioneer dies

Published: May 1, 2012
Elizabeth Latimer
Dr. Elizabeth Latimer, a McMaster University professor and a Canadian pioneer in palliative care

Dr. Elizabeth Latimer, a McMaster University professor and a Canadian pioneer in palliative care, passed away April 28 after a sudden illness.

Latimer began her career at McMaster in 1975 and retired in March, 2011 as a professor emeritus of the Department of Family Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. She was 67.

During her 39-year career as a palliative care physician, she published extensively on control of chronic cancer pain, delivery of health care to the terminally ill, and the ethical basis of practice and decision-making while caring for thousands of ill patients as a physician of Hamilton Health Sciences. She was a consultant and lecturer in several countries including South Africa, South America, the Netherlands, Malaysia, United States, Kuala Lampur, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

"Dr. Latimer began a positive cultural change to how the medical profession treats those in the final stages of life in Hamilton, in Canada and around the world, and this was a big accomplishment," said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences. "She always inspired in her students the sense of privilege to provide palliative care for those patients."

"Liz was a wonderful mentor to many of our students, residents and faculty," said David Price, chair of the Department of Family Medicine. "Her wisdom, grace and skill was valued by all and will be sorely missed."

In 1999, Latimer received Canada’s highest palliative care award, the Award of Excellence in Palliative Care from the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.

In her honour, the Elizabeth J. Latimer Prize in Palliative Care is awarded annually to recognize excellence and innovation in palliative care in Hamilton and the surrounding area.

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