William Thornton Mustard

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William Thornton Mustard
Born(1914-08-08)August 8, 1914
DiedDecember 11, 1987(1987-12-11) (aged 73)
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
OccupationPhysician and cardiac surgeon
EmployerHospital for Sick Children
Known forSurgeon in the field of congenital heart defects

William Thornton Mustard, OC MBE (August 8, 1914 – December 11, 1987) was a Canadian physician and cardiac surgeon. In 1949, he was one of the first to perform open-heart surgery using a mechanical heart pump and biological lung on a dog at the Banting Institute. He developed two operations named for him: the "Mustard operation" in orthopedics used to help hip use in people with polio and the "Mustard cardiovascular procedure" used to help correct heart problems in "blue babies," which has saved thousands of children worldwide.[1]

Education and training[edit]

Born in Clinton, Ontario, the son of Thornton and Pearl (Macdonald) Mustard, Mustard graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1937.[1] He spent the next year on an internship at Toronto General Hospital and the following year on an internship in surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children. He then took a fellowship at the New York Orthopedic Hospital. In 1940, he returned to Toronto and spent six months training in general surgery, chest diseases, and neurosurgery.[2]

World War II service[edit]

In 1941, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps where he first served as a First Lieutenant rising to become a Major. During World War II, he pioneered an operation that helped keep a patient's limb with severe artery damage rather than amputating it. In 1944, he performed an operation on a leg of a soldier[2] which would later be recognized with being made a Member of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire.[3] In 1941, he married Elise Howe. They had seven children.[2]

Career at Sick Kids[edit]

After the war, he returned to Toronto and was chief resident at the Hospital for Sick Children for six months. He spent another year at the New York Orthopedic Hospital before being appointed surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children in 1947. He spent a month training with Alfred Blalock in Baltimore. In 1957, he was appointed Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and retired in 1976.[2]

He died from a massive heart attack in 1987.[2]


In 1976, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "in recognition of his many achievements in the field of medicine, particularly as a cardiac surgeon of international repute".[4] In 1975, he was awarded the Gairdner Foundation International Award. In 1995, he was inducted in the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.[5]


  1. ^ a b "William Mustard". The Banting Research Foundation. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tutarel, Oktay (February 2007). "Profiles in Cardiology: William Thornton Mustard". Clinical Cardiology. 29 (9): 424–425. doi:10.1002/clc.4960290914. PMC 6654440. PMID 17007179. Retrieved 2009-04-02.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette". London Gazette. April 19, 1945. p. 2064.
  4. ^ "Order of Canada citation". Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.
  5. ^ The Heart Healers

External links[edit]