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Memorable Manitobans: William Doern (1902-2003)

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William Doern
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Medical technologist.

Born at Overstone, Manitoba on 12 April 1902, he spent his formative years in Morden until 1924, when he was admitted to the Ninette Sanatorium suffering from tuberculosis. While convalescing, he was asked by David A. Stewart, the medical director, to operate the x-ray machine. In 1929, he successfully wrote the membership exams for the American Society of Radiographers, became the Chief Technician of the Ninette Sanatorium and helped found and develop the first organization for x-ray technologists in Canada, The Western Canada Society of Radiographers (WCSR).

He helped to develop the first mobile x-ray van which travelled Manitoba for early detection of tuberculosis. He became Chief Technologist at the Winnipeg General Hospital (now Health Sciences Centre) in 1932. In cooperation with the CNIB, he employed blind persons in the darkroom processing films. As a result, many visually handicapped persons across the country found employment in x-ray departments. His hobby of photography contributed to the development of the Medical Photography Department at the Winnipeg General Hospital in the late 1930s.

Between 1935 to 1966, he participated either as an executive of the WCSR or the CSRT (now Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists) or as a member of a standing committee. In 1967, he received the Canadian Centennial Medal for “valuable service to the nation”. In 1979, the MAMRT established the Bill Doern Service Award at its 50th anniversary meeting. In addition to his medical interests, he was a founding member and cellist with the Manitoba Medical Orchestra in Winnipeg, and an active member and elder of St. Andrews River Heights United Church.

He moved to Beausejour, Manitoba in 1985, where he died on 30 August 2003.


MAMRT News: A Newsletter of the Manitoba Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, November 2002.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 September 2003.

“They will never be forgotten”, Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2003, pages A6-7.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 January 2013

Memorable Manitobans

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