Charles Hastings (Canadian physician)

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Charles John Colwell Orr Hastings (23 August 1858 in Markham Township, Canada – 17 January 1931 in Toronto) was an obstetrician and public health pioneer.


Dr. Hastings lost his daughter to typhoid because of contaminated milk.[citation needed] At that time, Toronto also had no sewage treatment, and used unchlorinated water from Lake Ontario.[citation needed] In middle age, Hastings switched from a normal career in obstetrics to an outstanding one in public health.[citation needed]

As Toronto's Medical Officer of Health (1910–29) Hastings crusaded to make Toronto the first city in Canada to pasteurize milk.[note 1] He introduced a safe water supply, eliminated privies, helped establish the public-health nursing system, medical and dental inspection in public schools, neighborhood baby clinics, childhood immunizations, and health inspections for homes and restaurants. The improvements lowered Toronto's death rate from communicable diseases from 15.3 per 1000 in 1909 to 10.3 per 1000 in 1925.[citation needed] Hastings became president of the Canadian Public Health Association in 1916 and the American Public Health Association in 1918.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Denmark instituted compulsory pasteurization in 1898 in an effort to limit the spread of tubercular disease.

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