Maude Elizabeth Seymour Abbott (1869 – 1940) was a Canadian physician, cardiologist and pathologist.
As one of Canada’s earliest female medical graduates, she was a tireless voice in the struggle to admit women to McGill’s medical school.
She has over one hundred journal publications and a series of books; Abbott’s chapter on congenital cardiac disease, in William Osler’s Modern Medicine (published 1907) established her as a world authority on the subject.
- 1869 – Born Elizabeth Maude Seymour Babin on 18 March, in Saint-André-d’Argenteuil, Quebéc, Canada. Maude’s father, Jeremie Babin, left to work in the United States shortly after her birth. Her mother, Elizabeth Bayley Abbott, died of tuberculosis in October 1869. Frances Mary Abbott (maternal grandmother), was left to raise Maude and her older sister, and their last name was changed to Abbott.
- 1890 – BA, Arts Faculty at Montreal McGill University (first woman to do so), won the Lord Stanley Gold Medal, graduated as class valedictorian.
- 1894 – MD from Bishop’s College. The only woman in her class, she won the Chancellor’s Prize, and Senior Anatomy Prize.
- 1898 – Appointed assistant curator (and then curator 1902-1927) of the university’s medical museum.
- 1906 – With Sir William Osler, co-founded the International Association of Medical Museums.
- 1907 – Inclusion of a chapter she wrote on her research in congenital cardiac abnormalities Sir William Osler’s ‘Systems of Modern Medicine’.
- 1908-1936 – Editor of the Bulletin of Pathology
- 1910 – Awarded an honorary medical degree from McGill and made a Lecturer in Pathology.
- 1914-1918 – Volunteered as editor of the ‘Canadian Medical Association Journal’ (whilst the editors served in World War I).
- 1923 – 1925 – Appointed Chief of Pathology at a woman’s medical college in Pennsylvania.
- 1924 – Founder of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada.
- 1925 – Appointed as assistant professor at McGill.
- 1936 – ‘Atlas of congenital cardiac disease’ published.
- 1940 – Died 2 September aged 71 in Montréal, Quebéc, Canada following a cerebral haemorrhage.
- 1994 – Posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
- 2000 – Canada Post paid tribute by issuing a stamp of The Millennium Collection.
Rokitansky-Maude Abbott syndrome (1924): Rare congenital heart disease characterized by persistence of the interatrial ostium primum associated with a cleft of the internal valve of the mitral orifice, thus separated into two half-valves, anterior and posterior, each inserted on a special pillar.
In 1875, Rokitansky’s last publication was the monograph Die Defecte der Scheidewände des Herzens [The Defects of the Heart Septum]. He recorded his observations of 24 patients with VSD; 20 with ASD; description of the evolution of chicken embryos; and of the origin of heart malformations.
In 1924, Abbott published on “Persistent ostium primum with cleavage of anterior mitral segment and deformity of tricuspid septal cusp. No cyanosis.”
The auricular septum presents a valvular patency of the foramen ovale and ends below in a crescentic free border which forms the upper boundary of a defect 3 by 2 cm. large, the lower border of which is formed by the overlapping upper halves of the completely divided anterior mitral segment. From an infant which presented a peculiar murmur over the precordium and was the subject of mongolian idiocy. Death at 10 months from bronchopneumonia.[Abbott 1924; 10: 111] [Abbott 1936; Plate XIV: Fig 8]
Abbott further commented that:
Cleavage of the anterior of the mitral valve was described by Rokitansky as a practically constant feature in all cases of persistent ostium primum, and it has been present in all the cases that have come under our observationAbbott 1924; 10: 116
- Abbott ME. On so-called functional heart murmurs, Montreal Medical Journal 1899
- Abbott ME. The Museum in medical teaching. JAMA. 1905;XLIV(12):935-939
- Abbott ME. Congenital cardiac disease. In: Osler’s Modern medicine, 1907; IV: 363-425 [2e, 1915; IV: ch X. 323-448]
- Abbott ME. Statistics of Congenital Cardiac Disease: 400 Cases Analyzed. J Med Res. 1908;19(1):77-81.
- Abbott ME. The haemopoietic organs. In: Descriptive catalogue of the Medical Museum of McGill University. 1915 [Part IV: 1]
- Abbott ME, Meakins J. On the differentiation of two forms of congenital dextrocardia. Bulletin of the International Association of Medical Museums. 1915; V: 134-138
- Abbott ME. Florence Nightingale as seen in her portraits: with a sketch of her life, and an account of her relation to the origin of the Red Cross Society. 1916
- Abbott ME. The determination of basal metabolism by the “Respiratory-valve and spirometer method” of indirect calorimetry, with an observation on a case of polycythemia with splenomegaly. Can Med Assoc J. 1918;8(6):491-509.
- Abbott ME. Classified Bibliography of Sir William Osler’s Canadian Period. Can Med Assoc J. 1920;10(Spec Issue):103-123.
- Abbott ME. The Pathological Collections of the Late Sir William Osler and His Relations with the Medical Museum of McGill University. Can Med Assoc J. 1920;10(Spec Issue):91-102.
- Abbott ME. McGill’s heroic past, 1821-1921; an historic outline of the University from its origin to the present time. 1921
- Abbott ME. The Determination of Basal Metabolism by Estimation of the Respiratory Exchange (Indirect Calorimetry) as a Clinical Method in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperthyroid and Hypothyroid States. Can Med Assoc J. 1921;11(3):217-220.
- Abbott ME. II. Persistent ostium primum with Mongolian idiocy. International Association of Medical Museums Bulletin. 1924; 10: 111-116 [Rokitansky-Maude Abbott syndrome]
- Wheeler D, Abbott ME. Double Aortic Arch and Pulmonary Atresia, with Pulmonic Circulation Maintained through a Persistent Left Aortic Root, in a Man Aged Twenty-Nine. Can Med Assoc J. 1928;19(3):297-303.
- Abbott ME. An Early Canadian Biologist,Michel Sarrazin (1659-1735)) His Life and Times. Can Med Assoc J. 1928;19(5):600-607.
- Abbott ME, Moffatt W. Mirror-Picture Dextrocardia, Complicated by Mitral Aplasia and Pulmonary Hypoplasia, with Great Hypertrophy of the Transposed “Right” Chambers. Can Med Assoc J. 1929;20(6):611-616.
- Abbott ME. History of medicine in the province of Quebec. 1931
- Abbott ME. Atlas of congenital cardiac disease. American Heart Association. 1936
- Fraser R. Maude Abbott and the “Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease”. Cardiovasc Pathol. 2006;15(4):233-235.
- Wooley CF, Miller PJ. William Osler, Maude Abbott, Paul Dudley White, and Helen Taussig: the origins of congenital heart disease in North America. Am Heart Hosp J. 2008;6(1):51-56.
- Rosenhek R. The queen of Canadian cardiology. In: Doctor’s Review. 2008.
- van den Tweel JG. Maude Abbott. In: Pioneers in Pathology. 2017.
- Adams A. Encountering Maude Abbott. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics. 2018; 2(2); 21.
- Maude Abbott. Maude Abbott Medical Museum.
- Wettrell G. Maude Abbott and the early rise of pediatric cardiology. Hektoen International. 2016.
- Dr. Maude Elizabeth Seymour Abbott. Changing the face of Medicine. 2015.
- Gillett, M. ABBOTT, Maude Elizabeth Seymour. In: Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 16;2003-2020.
- Maude Abbott. Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (1994 inductee).
- Abbott, Maude E. WorldCat Identities.
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