I recently had the pleasure of meeting a man with an extraordinary career which has been untimely cut short and I want to use this platform to draw attention to a true renaissance man. Justice David Marshall of the Ontario Superior Court, MD, LLB passed away unexpectedly a week ago today. While I did not know Justice Marshall well, upon meeting him one could not help but marvel at his career and list of accomplishments; regardless of his list of accomplishments, I was immediately struck by the genuine interest he took in the people he had just met. Over the course of his professional life Justice Marshall carved a career path that, I dare to say, few will follow. Justice Marshall had been a doctor since 1962 and a lawyer since 1972 and during the course of his career practiced medicine and law and was a provincial coroner concurrently. In 1982 he was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories and Yukon, and Judge of the Court of Appeal Northwest Territories and Yukon. In 1992 he was appointed Justice of the Ontario Court, located in his home county and was recently named Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Forces Medical and Dental Branch after being a reservist for over four decades. Justice Marshall was the founding director of the National Judicial Institute and had too many appointments and honours, both medical and legal, to fully cover here (but can be found in some of the links in this post). More recently he was known as the Justice who issued the injunction ordering native protesters to leave a site in Caledonia, what is not as widely reported is that the Six Nations had made him an honorary chief in 1982. A reading of the decisions surrounding the dispute reveals a deep appreciation for all sides and issues.
In addition to all of this Justice Marshall also found time to publish material covering topics which he was uniquely qualified to pen:
Canadian Law of Inquests, 3rd ed. (Toronto: Thomson, 2008).
The Law of Human Experimentation (Toronto: Butterworths, 2000).
Judicial Conduct and Accountability (Scarborough, Ont: Carswell, 1995).
The Physician and Canadian Law, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 1979).
Medical Law Handbook: A Guide for Canadian Health-Care Professionals (Toronto: International Self-Counsel Press Ltd, 1985).
Patients’ Rights: What You Should Know Before Seeing a Doctor (Toronto: International Self-Counsel Press Ltd, 1976).
The Hamilton Spectator called him a Renaissance man and I do not think that I can improve on that description. In perusing the works listed above I thought that something from the introduction of the Medical Law Handbook to be most appropriate and also offers a glimpse of his sense of humour.
“Medicine and law work quite well together; they are not all that different. Consider this epitaph that appears on a tombstone in England”:
Doctors and Lawyers he could not abide;
Because of the first he too soon died;
Because of the second, his muddled affairs;
Assured his estate was eventually theirs.