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Thursday October 25, 0830-1000

Opening Keynote: The Arrival Of The Kolff Artificial Kidney And Haemodialysis In Montreal: 1947-48

Mortimer Levy, MD, McGill University, Montreal QC

The first use of an artificial kidney in Montreal occurred on February 23rd at the Royal Victoria Hospital. It was carried out by Dr. Nannie Deleeuw, who had been a student and colleague of Dr. Wilhelm Kolff in Kampen, Holland during the last years of the war. The rotating drum kidney (made of wood) had been invented by Dr. Kolff in Nazi-occupied Holland during the war and was first used in February/March 1943. Sixteen patients died of their renal failure, and it was the 17th patient, dialyzed in October of 1945, who was the first survivor. In 1946-47, 4 kolff kidneys were sent out of Holland to Warsaw, London England, New York and Montreal. I shall describe the first use of the Montreal kidney, events leading up to its arrival and some pertinent features of Canadian dialysis that occurred afterwards. I shall also describe a short history of the development of dialysis.


Mortimer LevyMortimer Levy, MD, McGill University, Montreal QC

I obtained my medical degree in 1961 at McGill University after obtaining a B.Sc in honours Physiology. My medical and nephrology training was done at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, and from September 1966 until December 1968, I was a kidney physiology research fellow at the Boston University Medical Center. I returned to Montreal in January 1969 and joined the staff of the nephrology division at the Royal Victoria Hospital, where I have remained ever since. My research has centred about the pathophysiology of edema formation and kidney function in patients with liver disease. From February 1984 to October 1998, I was Director of Nephrology at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH). In more recent years, I have become interested in the history of early dialysis at McGill University. I am a senior physician and nephrologist at the RVH and in 2010, I became Professor Emeritus in medicine and physiology at McGill University. This is my first speaking engagement with CANNT.

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Friday October 26, 0900-1000

Plenary Session: 49 Years and Counting: A Remarkable Journey of Survival on Hemodialysis

Murray Vasilevsky, MD, Clinical Site Director, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal QC

This presentation will describe the journey of a remarkable man who started hemodialysis at the age of 11 in 1969. Chronic dialysis for children was not widely available at the time. With the will to innovate and think outside the box, the dialysis team at the Montreal General Hospital was able to initiate hemodialysis treatment. Based on the experience with a thriving home hemodialysis program the team was able to train the patient and his mother to perform home hemodialysis which he continued until 2005. He continued centre hemodialysis from 2005 to the present time. He was never a candidate for a transplant due to insurmountable urologic abnormalities. He celebrated his 49th anniversary on hemodialysis October 8, 2018. He is the longest single modality hemodialysis survivor in the world, a feat which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. His journey illustrates the hardships encountered in the early years of dialysis and the remarkable improvements in technology over the years. His journey is especially a testament to what can be achieved by a motivated dialysis team coupled with the support and dedication of a remarkable family.


Murray VasilevskyMurray Vasilevsky, MD, Clinical Site Director, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal QC

Dr. Vasilevsky obtained his medical degree in 1975. He trained in Nephrology at McGill University and Boston University Medical Centre. He is currently the Site Director of Nephrology at the Montreal General Hospital and Director of Dialysis at the McGill University Hospital Centre.

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Friday October 26, 1500-1630

Panel Session: The History of CANNT, Vascular Access Hx, History of PD


Frances BoutilierFrances Boutilier

Frances graduated in Nursing from the Victoria General Hospital, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Frances had a 20 year career in Dialysis, as Head Nurse and then Supervisor, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Dialysis Program. Frances was President of CANNT from 1976-1984. In 1984, CANNT named the first Bursary “Frances Boutilier Bursary” in recognition for her service to CANNT. In 1986, Frances was made a “CANNT Life Member”. Frances retired from Health Care as Coordinator, Medical and Therapeutic Units in 1994. Frances graduated from the Atlantic School of Theology with a Masters of Divinity in 1997. She was ordained priest in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1998 and served in Parish ministry in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Now retired again, Frances continues to in ministry in her home Church, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia – focusing on pastoral ministry.


Elizabeth (Betty) KelmanElizabeth (Betty) Kelman

Elizabeth (Betty) Kelman worked in Nephrology Nursing for 40 years before retiring in 2013. She graduated from the Atkinson School of Nursing (Toronto Western Hospital) in 1974. She pursued part-time studies at the University of Toronto, and graduated with a BA in Sociology in 1986, a Masters of Education in 1992 and the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate in 1995.

She has worked as a staff nurse in PDU, Research Nurse in Peritoneal Dialysis, Nurse Educator in Nephrology and Nurse Practitioner in Toronto with her positions held at Toronto Western Hospital and then Toronto General Hospital, the University Health Network. During her career, Betty helped develop the Nephrology Nursing Certificate Programme through Humber College and taught in the programme for several years. She was also a consultant at Georgian College in Barrie for a Nephrology Nursing Programme. She has spoken nationally and internationally on a wide range of topics including renal anatomy and physiology, chronic kidney disease, anatomy and physiology of the peritoneal membrane, access for peritoneal dialysis, complications of peritoneal dialysis, nursing education and professional development, calciphylaxis and palliative care in nephrology. She and her co-author, Diane Watson, wrote the chapters on peritoneal dialysis for the second and third editions of Contemporary Nephrology Nursing: Principles and Practices, ANNA. Betty has also had other publications but is most proud of her contributions to a journal for patients and families called The Renal Family from 1982 to 1990. She was honoured to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of Peritoneal Dialysis (Nursing), presented by the University of Missouri/Annual Dialysis Conference in 2008.

She is enjoying retirement greatly, baking cookies, travelling and working on the Pastoral Care Committee for Manor Road United Church And as she says, enjoying her second childhood!

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Saturday October 27, 0900-1000

Interactions with Natural Health Products (NHPs)

Jean-Yves Dionne, Pharmacist, Expert in Natural Health Products

It seems everybody takes some form of OTC or NHP. We hear they can be dangerous, especially it taken with medication. In this presentation, we’ll look at the facts, the controversy and the reality of NHP-Drug Interactions. We’ll look at the clinically relevant ones with a focus on the kidney. We’ll even include a glimpse of the “new reality” in Canada.

At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to :

  • Describe clinically relevant drug-NHP interaction
  • Discuss some mechanisms of action for interactions
  • Identify reliable resource tools for interactions and toxicity


Jean-Yves DionneJean-Yves Dionne, Pharmacist, Expert in Natural Health Products

Jean-Yves Dionne is a pharmacist, trainer, clinical consultant and scientific advisor on natural health products (NHPs). He enjoys an exceptional reputation and credibility in Quebec. For the past two decades, he is recognized as the NHP expert by the media and many health professional organizations.

Great communicator and well-known speaker, Jean-Yves stands out for his remarkable ability to integrate different health approaches in order to convey concrete, practical and realistic advice.

Mr Dionne currently teaches at Université Laval and Université de Montreal. In addition, through his Apothecary Academy (, he offers clinical and independent training on NHPs to healthcare professionals.

Jean-Yves acts as a collaborator and reviewer for several scientific and popular publications such as Natural Medicine Journal (USA), actualité pharmaceutique and Montréal en santé. He is also author or co-author of several books including The end of pain; Fatigue, Stress, Insomnie: Briser le triangle infernal and Herbs – Everyday Reference for Health Professionals (CPhA & CMA 1999).

Jean-Yves Dionne has a weekly health column at LCN (French news channel) and is regularly called as a health expert by several media. His French blog Franchement santé ( attracts approximately 900,000 readers each year (1,300,000 page views).

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Saturday October 27, 1515-1615

Closing Keynote: Humour, Magic and Medicine

Joe Schwarcz, MD, Director, Office for Science and Society, McGill University, Montreal QC

It is becoming more and more clear that there is a strong interrelationship between the body and the mind. While sick people may not exactly be able to laugh their way back to health, scientists are looking very seriously at the potential therapeutic value of humor and play. There appears little question that mental attitude can influence how we deal with stress and how we recover from certain illnesses. Unfortunately, though, sometimes people place too much hope on the power of “positive thinking.” Come laugh a little, and learn a lot about the value of humor in managing stress! You may even experience a little magic…..


Joe SchwarczJoe Schwarcz, MD, Director, Office for Science and Society, McGill University, Montreal QC

Dr. Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society” which is dedicated to demystifying science and separating sense from nonsense. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public. He is the only non-American ever to win the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award for demystifying chemistry. He hosts “The Dr. Joe Show” on Montreal radio, has appeared hundreds of times on television and is the author of 16 best sellers. Also an amateur conjurer, Dr. Joe often spices up his presentations with a little magic.