Tribute to Dr. Bruce Carruthers


Marjorie I. van de Sande, BEd, GradDipEd, is an educator, author and advocate who lives with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and fibromyalgia (FM). She was the Director for Alberta and the Director of Education for the Canadian National ME/FM Action Network from 1995 – 2004 and then an advisor and webmaster until 2010. She co-authored several case definitions and guidelines with Dr. Bruce Carruthers and medical panels. More here.

Tribute to Dr. Bruce Magoffin Carruthers, M.D., C.M., F.R.C.P. (C) – May 7, 1933 – July 21, 2017


Dr. Bruce Carruthers, Canada’s foremost authority on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), died on July 21, 2017. Being the son of a missionary doctor, it is not surprising that Dr. Carruthers dedicated his life to advancing medicine, and treating patients with compassion and dignity. His presence left this world in a better place.

Born in India to missionary parents, an American mother and a Canadian father, Bruce graduated from Kodaikanal International School in India before moving to Canada to study at his father’s alma mater, Queen’s University, Ontario. Bruce’s excellence was quickly recognized when he graduated in medicine as a dual gold medalist in Surgery, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Following an internship at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans and a residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as a Research Fellow of the American Diabetes Association, Dr. Carruthers settled with his family in Vancouver. He earned a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with the specialty of Internal Medicine. For many years Dr. Carruthers was an Assistant Professor and a Medical Research Council of Canada Scholar, lecturing and carrying out research in diabetes and metabolic disorders in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

From 1978 until his retirement, Dr. Carruthers had a private practice as a Consultant in Internal Medicine, with focus on diabetes and metabolic disorders and later, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). His compassionate nature and adept care improved the quality of life of his patients. Throughout his outstanding medical career, which spanned more than fifty years, Dr. Carruthers treated more patients inflicted with ME than any other doctor in Canada.

Dr. Carruthers will be remembered for the gracious donation of his time and expertise. He was a valuable resource for many doctors and patient organizations. From the time I met Dr. Carruthers in 1997, he was always happy to read over articles I wrote to ensure their medical accuracy. It was my distinct privilege to have written collaboratively with Dr. Carruthers from 1999 until his stroke in 2012. Our many discussions over the years focused on developing resources that would assist clinicians and enable patients to receive a definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment in a timely fashion. We began writing drafts of the Canadian Consensus Documents for ME and FMS. Health Canada selected the medical panels and determined the ‘Terms of Reference’. In addition to being the first published clinical definitions, they were the first research-based criteria that grouped symptoms by regions of pathophysiology. A new standard in clinical assessment was established. At the suggestion of the Canadian College of Family Practitioners, we coauthored Overviews of the Canadian Consensus Documents to assist busy clinicians.

In 2010, Dr. Carruthers and I established an International Expert Medical Panel for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis consisting of leading authorities from around the globe. Their insights and wisdom gleaned from research and diagnosing and treating more than 50,000 patients were utilized to enhance clarity and consistency of diagnosis and treatment of ME internationally. The ME International Consensus Criteria became the most accessed paper published by the Journal of Internal Medicine. The user-friendly MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS – Adult & Paediatric: International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners provides a blueprint for assessment and management of patients world-wide.

A champion of patient care, Dr. Carruthers is cherished by his patients. The Overviews of the Canadian Consensus Documents and the ME International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners were translated into several languages and printed in many countries. Dr. Carruthers' gracious and generous donation of his time and expertise were pivotal in bringing milestone advances in diagnostic and treatment protocols for ME. The impact of these advances will continue to grow.

To quote Dr. Don Lewis of Donvale, Australia,

“My school logo portrayed a running athlete holding a torch aloft. Nothing better depicts the legacy of ­­Dr. Bruce Carruthers in lighting the path for all to follow in both understanding and validating Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). All the projects that he has undertaken have progressively defined and clarified this illness, so facilitating diagnosis and management, and for those with the illness, the light that he shed provides direction and hope.”

Dr. Bruce M. Carruthers - adept medical clinician ● champion of patient care ● compassionate gentleman ● man of the highest integrity ● truly treasured friend! His memories will be cherished by family, friends, colleagues, and patients around the world. Peace and light.

Dr. Carruthers' publications on ME & FM:

1. 2012- MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS – Adult & Paediatric: International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners. Carruthers BM, van de Sande MI, De Meirleir KL, Klimas NG, Broderick G, Mitchell T, Staines D, Powles ACP, Speight N, Vallings R, Bateman L, Bell DS, Carlo-Stella N, Chia J, Darragh A, Gerken A, Jo D, Lewis D, Light AR, Light K, Marshall-Gradisnik S, McLaren-Howard J, Mena I, Miwa K, Murovska M, Steven S. Editors: BM Carruthers & MI van de Sande. ISBN 978-0-9739335-3-6. http://www.name-us.org/DefintionsPages/DefICC.htm; ​French translation: https://aqem.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ICP-traduit-francais-2014-final.pdf

2. 2011 - Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria. Carruthers BM, van de Sande MI, De Meirleir KL, Klimas DG, Broderick G, Mitchell T, Staines D, Powles ACP, Speight N, Vallings R, Bateman L, Baumbarten-Austrheim B, Bell DS, Carlo-Stella N, Chia J, et al. J Intern Med 2011; 270: 327-338. [PMID: 21777306] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x/pdf

3. 2005 - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners. An Overview of the Canadian Consensus Document. B M Carruthers, M I van de Sande. ISBN: 0-9739335-0-X, ISBN of French Translation: 978-2-9810192-9-2. http://www.mefmaction.com/images/stories/Overviews/ME-Overview.pdf

4. 2005 - Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners. An Overview of the Canadian Consensus Document. B M Carruthers, M I van de Sande. ISBN: 0-9739335-1-8

http://www.mefmaction.com/images/stories/Overviews/FMSOverview08.pdf

5. 2005 - TEACH ME - Chapters 1 & 2: Understanding Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) in Young People: Marjorie van de Sande & Dr. Bruce Carruthers; in TEACH-ME: A Sourcebook for Teachers of Young People With Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Dr. David Bell, Cr. Bruce M. Carruthers and the TEACH-ME Task Force. National ME/FM Action 2005.

http://www.mefmaction.com/images/stories/Support/Teach_Me_Eng.pdf

6. 2003 - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols. B M Carruthers, A K Jain, K L De Meirleir, D L Peterson, N G Klimas, A M Lerner, A C Bested, P Flor-Henry, P Joshi, A C P Powles, J A Sherkey, M I van de Sande. Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 2003; 11(1): 7-116. http://www.mefmaction.com/images/stories/Medical/ME-CFS-Consensus-Document.pdf

7. 2003 - Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Canadian Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols – A Consensus Document. A K Jain, B M Carruthers, M I van de Sande, S R Barron, C C S Donaldson, J V Dune, E Gingrich, D S Heffez, F Y-K Leung, D G Malone, T J Romano, et al. Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain 2003; 11(4): 3-107. http://www.mefmaction.com/images/stories/Medical/FMConsensusDocumentbk.pdf

8. 2003 - “The Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition for Practitioners”, pp 3-108, 2004 was co-published simultaneously as a medical text book. Editor: I J Russell. ISBN: 0-7890-2574-4. Haworth Medical Press Inc. Currently available through Amazon, Chapters, Indigo, etc.

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