Groves, Abraham, 1847-1935

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Groves, Abraham, 1847-1935

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Abraham Groves (1847-1935) was a physician in Fergus, Ontario.

Dr. Abraham Groves was born at Peterborough, Ontario on 8 September 1847. The Groves family moved to a farm in Garafraxa Township in the 1850s. Groves attended the Grammar School in Fergus, Ontario. In 1868 he entered the Toronto School of Medicine and graduated from the University of Toronto with his medical degree in 1871. Upon graduation, he returned home to Fergus and established a medical practice.

Groves was well known as a medical innovator and surgeon. In 1881, he was one of the first members of the Ontario Medical Association, in which he served on a number of committees, submitted papers, served as the 2nd vice-president in 1892, and was honoured with Life Membership in 1924. Amongst his many accomplishments, Groves performed the first successful open abdominal surgery on May 5, 1874 and the world's first appendectomy May 10, 1883, the latter in a Fergus farmhouse. Groves' surgical work was generally performed in patients' kitchens. Despite this, Groves sterilized his instruments before it became standard practice in hospitals. He was also the first Canadian physician to report on the use of X-rays to treat cancer.

Groves served as house physician for the Wellington County House of Refuge and was responsible for the construction of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, which opened in 1902. In 1932 he donated the hospital to the Town of Fergus; subsequently, it was renamed the Groves Memorial Hospital.

Groves was actively involved in many facets of community life in Fergus. In the early 1880s he served on the Fergus Village Council. He built the first electric light plant in the area, which supplied the power for arc lamp street-lighting in Elora and Fergus until 1914. Groves was also invested in many local businesses and was active in real estate. Groves practised medicine until the 1930s, when he retired due to failing eyesight. In 1934 he published his memoirs under the title, All in a Day's Work, as well as a book of poetry in 1930. Groves died at Fergus on 12 May 1935.


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Rev. Mar/12.




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