Canadian Medical Association

Victoria; University of Toronto, 1947; obstetrics and gynecology; Order of Canada. Died May 29, 2021, aged 97. Survived by 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. “As a young medical student, Murray fell in love with birthing mothers, and he went on to transform maternity care in Canada and influence care and epidemiology worldwide. In 1955 the family moved to Hamilton, where Murray eventually became chief of obstetrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital. When McMaster University opened its innovative medical school, Murray joined the faculty, and there he began his shift to the academic study of childbirth in support of family-centred maternity care. ‘Evidence is the best rhetoric,’ was one of Murray’s aphorisms. He was an early adopter of then-controversial practices such as childbirth education, delivery in the labour room, having fathers present at births, and rooming in. He also became involved in international movements for childbirth education, and was known as an ‘honorary midwife’ by the midwives he supported in the recognition of their profession in Canada. Although he was a pioneer of evidence-based medicine, Murray’s endless iconoclasm led him to question the dominance of statistical evidence over personal narratives. He became increasingly interested in death and dying, and coined the word tokothanatology, the study of the similarities between birth and death. Murray’s favourite saying was a line from George Santayana: ‘There is no cure for birth or death, save to enjoy the interval.’ ”

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