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Nigel Rusted

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 18 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2810
  1. Barbara Kermode-Scott
  1. kermodeb{at}

Surgeon who worked aboard hospital ships in the 1930s

Nigel Rusted was a general surgeon who also worked aboard clinic ships sailing the remote and rugged Canadian coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was the first and sole medical officer for a clinic service on board the MV Lady Anderson, on which he sailed from Burnt Islands to Coombs Cove, visiting about 75 communities along Newfoundland’s southern coast.

Isolated coastal communities

Rusted studied medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Newfoundland did not have a medical school until 1967, when Rusted’s younger brother Ian was the founding dean of Memorial University’s faculty of medicine.) During medical school, he spent the summers of 1930-1 travelling to isolated coastal communities in Labrador as health officer on board the 220 foot (67 metres) steam ship and icebreaker SS Kyle. Known as the “bulldog of the north,” the Kyle transported fishermen to and from Labrador and visited more than 50 communities along its wild coast. Owned by the Newfoundland Railway and often the only link between Labrador and the outside world, the Kyle also provided Labrador’s residents with supplies, transportation, and mail services as well …

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