Captain (Navy) Dr. Raymond Kao, a Lawson associate scientist, has been awarded the 2017 John McCrae Memorial Medal by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
Dr. Kao has served in various military units as a Medical Officer since 1991 and has been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces since 1977. He has served in Africa and the Middle East. In 2013, Dr. Kao was named Canada’s first Chair in Military Critical Care Research. A major focus of his research has been on improving military trauma care and developing treatments that can be brought to the battle field.
The John McCrae Memorial Medal from the CMA recognizes clinical health services personnel of the Canadian Forces who perform exemplary service and demonstrate compassion, self-sacrifice or innovation beyond the call of duty to benefit the health or welfare of fellow military personnel or civilian populations.
“Receiving this honour is very humbling because one does not achieve anything without the help of others. My work would not be possible without the support of and collaboration with other researchers. This award represents the efforts of all the military physicians and surgeons, nurses, medical technicians, allied health care providers and physicians’ assistants on my deployments who have worked to provide excellent care,” says Dr. Kao, who is also the senior critical care advisor to the Surgeon General, a critical care physician at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
In 2014, Dr. Kao was part of a military medical team sent to Sierra Leone to help combat the Ebola epidemic. He provided care to affected health care workers and studied prognostic factors to help improve care in future epidemics.
He is currently studying the use of C-Peptide to improve organ dysfunction after traumatic hemorrhagic shock caused by blunt or penetrating trauma. Hemorrhagic shock is treated with fluid resuscitation, or fluid replacement, which can also put stress on the organs. His recent studies have shown that C-Peptide, an insulin connecting protein, has the potential to reduce gut injury and lung inflammation from hemorrhagic shock and fluid resuscitation.
Dr. Kao is also widely recognized for his research on erythropoietin, a hormone produced by the kidneys that stimulates the production of red blood cells and, in turn, haemoglobin. He found that when combined with saline, erythropoietin can improve blood flow and tissue oxygen usage after an injury. Erythropoietin can easily be administered through a syringe and can be used to help stabilize wounded soldiers in the battlefield.