Drake Lecturer Will Discuss Personal Connection to Surgical History

Drake Lecturer Will Discuss Personal Connection to Surgical History

Many surgeons have a deep connection to the history of the field, through mentors, forebears, innovators, their professional idols, and the ACS, which has played a role in surgical history for more than 100 years. Sometimes, the history of surgery can take on an even more personal touch, as is the case for James M. Drake, MB, BCh, FACS, who will deliver this year’s Charles G. Drake History of Surgery Lecture, “A Personal History.”  Dr. James Drake is the son of Dr. Charles Drake, who was a pioneer in neurosurgery, a Past-President of the College, and the surgeon for whom the lecture was named.

Dr. Charles Drake was an adult vascular neurosurgeon from Canada who became internationally renowned for his work to advance the treatment of aneurysms in the 1960s until his retirement. The ACS Advisory Council for Neurological Surgery established the Charles G. Drake History of Surgery Lecture in 1992 to honor this leader in neurological surgery, making this year’s lecture its 30th anniversary.

Dr. James Drake is a pediatric neurosurgeon and surgeon-in-chief at the Hospital for Sick Kids, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto, ON. He is a highly accomplished researcher in his own right as a preeminent global expert in hydrocephalus and neurosurgical endoscopy.

In his lecture today, 2:30–3:30 pm in Room 5AB on the Upper Level of the San Diego Convention Center, Dr. James Drake will discuss his father’s career, relationships, and work philosophies, with the unique insight tempered by a close family bond.

Despite their close relationship, the younger Dr. Drake found that he was able to learn new details about his father in preparing for the lecture. “It’s given me an opportunity to dig a little deeper into his career and what he accomplished, but also to show the other side of him,” Dr. Drake said.

There is much to discover by examining a surgeon’s career, Dr. Drake suggested. “We can take pieces of their attitude and skills and apply them to our own,” he said, adding that the effort to offer a lecture on his father was made possible by the strong memories shared by his family and Dr. Charles Drake’s former colleagues.

In addition to discussing his father’s accomplishments and the thoughts of his colleagues, Dr. James Drake said he looks forward to speaking about his father’s work philosophies. “He thought that work was the spice of life,” he said. “Matching your wits against the diseases you faced was an enormous challenge but extraordinarily rewarding.”

Dr. James Drake added that his father was equally passionate about transparent surgical outcomes reporting. “My father was well known for his philosophy about honesty in reporting your results. You had to be so honest it hurts,” he said, noting that the senior Dr. Drake picked up the belief from his own mentor and made sure that anyone he taught had the same philosophy. “You really had to be honest about what transpires and how the patients had done. He thought that was the only way you could move things forward—if everyone could learn from the tribulations you experienced,” Dr. James Drake said. 

This belief, building on the “End Result Idea” that has formed the basis of ACS quality improvement for more than 100 years, aligned Dr. Charles Drake closely with the College’s ideals. “He thought the goals and mission of the ACS were so important that Canadian surgery should be involved in other national and international organizations, including the College,” the younger Dr. Drake said. “Most countries have so much in common, but they have so much to learn from one another.” 

The Charles G. Drake History of Surgery Lecture will be offered in-person, livestreamed, and on-demand approximately 1 hour after it completes.

Watch Clinical Congress Sessions On Demand

Virtual registration is still an option for Clinical Congress 2022. An on-demand library of recorded sessions from San Diego is available until May 1, 2023.