It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Doctor and Professor David Douglas Cochrane. Doug, as he was widely known, leaves an enduring legacy of inspiring all who worked with him to be better, and inspiring institutions to become better versions of themselves.

He was born in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada in 1950. After a remarkable high school academic and athletic career, Doug felt called to Medicine and graduated as the Gold Medalist at University of Toronto Medical School. After completing his Neurosurgery Residency at the University of Calgary, Doug completed a Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and then returned to Calgary to start his Faculty career in 1981. After a move to British Columbia Children’s Hospital and University of British Columbia in 1986, he started an incredible 30-year-long work partnership with Paul Steinbok in the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at BCCH. In British Columbia, Doug took on increasingly complex roles, with excellence being the constant. Head of Pediatric Surgery (10 years), VP Medical for BC Children’s and the Provincial Health Services Authority (7 years), and Chair of the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council (20 years). Doug trained generations of Canadian and International medical students, residents, and fellows, while caring for the sickest children in the province and performing over 3000 Neurosurgical operations. Tens of thousands of clinic patients and their families remember his skill, his constant good cheer, and his smile.

If you ask anyone, patient, family, medical student, resident, fellow, nurse, attending – all would say the same thing: “Doug always had time for me.” His profound dedication to his patients drove his academic and professional pursuits in patient safety, but most importantly was evident to every patient and family Doug cared for. Authentic dedication, sustained over decades at this intensity, is both rare and inspirational.

All of us, in Pediatric Neurosurgery, are better because of him. The accolades and achievements, far too many to list, do not singularly define a great career. Rather, it is the enduring echoes of inspiration and impact – on the institutions and on countless people who stand on the shoulders of this humble giant.

With all that said, Doug’s greatest love was his family.  He leaves behind his loving wife Barbara, with whom he shared a 50-year adventure, his daughters Dawn and Katherine, and his grandchildren with whom he was absolutely besotted, Max, Sophia, Ben, and Gabe.

(Ash Singhal & Barb Cochrane, February 2024)