Dr Beverley Charles Leech

Dr Beverley Charles Leech

09/05/1898 to 10/03/1960

Place of birth: Brandon, Manitoba

Nationality: Canadian

CRN: 715512

Also known as: Bev

Education and qualifications

General education

Schools in Brandon, Manitoba and Regina, Saskatchewan; McGill University (after WW1 service)

Primary medical qualification(s)

MDCM, McGill University, 1925

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)


Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After leaving school Leech served as an infantry Lieutenant during WW1 before studying medicine in Montreal. He then returned to Regina in 1925 and in 1929 became Director of Anaesthesia at the General Hospital. He joined the services again during WW2, commanding first a Field Ambulance, then a General Hospital, and finally becoming Assistant Director Medical Services of the 2nd Canadian Division. After the war he returned to Regina, but in 1956 moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia, where he worked until his death.

Professional interests and activities

Leech was primarily a clinical anaesthetist who was concerned (in the pre-relaxant era) with the provision of sound anaesthesia, favouring (and publishing defences of) procaine for spinal anaesthesia and cyclopropane for general anaesthesia. At a time when tracheal intubation was uncommon he developed a device, the “pharyngeal bulb gas airway”, really a predecessor of the laryngeal mask airway, that produced the gas tight seal required for use of a closed circuit breathing system. Calling on the administrative ability shown in his WW2 service, he also worked hard, to ensure that standards of anaesthesia throughout Saskatchewan were as high as in the major centres. Leech was the first anaesthetist in Saskatchewan to become a certificant (1943) of the RCPC, received both the OBE and the Legion d’Honneur for his war service, and was President of the Canadian Society for 1948-9.

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Shepherd DAE. History of Canadian Anaesthesia: Beverley Charles Leech 1898-1960. Canad J Anaes 1990; 37: 689 (see also www.archives.mcgill.ca). I thank Prof Brendan Finucane for his help.  Image courtesy of the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Schaumburg, IL, USA. 

Dr Beverley Charles Leech