Mumbai tragedy claims two McGillians

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Common
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Common

By McGill Reporter Staff

For the second time this year, McGill has been touched by international terrorism. Two members of the University community were shot to death in Mumbai, India late last month during a murderous rampage that shocked the world.

Dr. Michael Moss, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine, and alumna Elizabeth Russell (DipNurs(T&S)’65, BN’68, BSW’83, MSW’84) join adjunct professor Jackie Kirk, who was slain by the Taliban earlier this year in Afghanistan, as innocent victims of conflict on the other side of the world.

“Once again, we are shocked and saddened by needless loss of life,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum. “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of Dr. Moss and of Ms. Russell and the University offers its most sincere condolences.

“The tragedy in Mumbai underlines how dangerous the world can become in an instant, even in places we usually think are comparatively safe. The killing of innocent, unarmed civilians is, of course, the most cowardly and heinous of acts,” Prof. Munroe-Blum said. “It also underlines how important it is for institutions like McGill to continue to work internationally to try to help alleviate some of the conditions and circumstances that can lead to conflict.”

Dr. Moss, 73, was known as a valued teacher, compassionate humanitarian and dedicated doctor. He was born in Watford, England, in 1935 and served in the Royal Navy before studying medicine at St. Batholomew’s Hospital in London. Dr. Moss moved to Canada in the 1960s to work in Saskatchewan and on Baffin Island as a member of the Baffin-McGill medical team. Promoted to Surgeon Commander, he remained in the Royal Navy reserve until 1973. He settled in Montreal, where he practiced for 37 years as a highly respected physician.

Dr. Moss was the archetypal general practitioner with qualifications and experience in multiple clinical areas, such as obstetrics, advanced cardiac and trauma life support, and radiology. The father of four worked for many years at the former Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Montreal, including as director of the emergency department for eight years. In 1978, he became one of the early certificate holders of the Canadian College of Family Physicians. In 1980s, he began focusing on geriatric care and in the latter part of his career worked at the Richardson Hospital, part of the Cavendish Health and Social Services Centre.

Born in Montreal on Nov. 4, 1943, Russell grew up in Town of Mount Royal and Lachute, and later attended Havergal College, a girls’ boarding school in Toronto. After earning her MA in Social Work in 1984, Russell worked as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. From there, she worked as a psychiatric social worker at the Jewish General Hospital before opening a successful private practice in Westmount. The 65-year-old Russell leaves behind two daughters and a son.

“Dr. Moss devoted himself to caring for others, as did Elizabeth Russell. It is simply tragic that both their lives were brought to such an abrupt and brutal end,” said Dr. Richard I. Levin, Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.