Tribute to Dr Keith

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Tribute to Dr. Louis Keith – MBC Advisory Board Member

Multiple Births Canada (MBC) is saddened by the recent passing of Dr. Louis Keith.  MBC sends our deepest condolences to his family, particularly to his twin brother, Donald, who shared his passion for making a difference internationally for multiple-birth individuals and their families.

Louis was a great friend to Multiple Births Canada and its volunteers.  He was generous and kind, giving of his time and resources to encourage and support Canadian parents of multiples and professionals.  Considered a world expert in multiple pregnancy, birth and postpartum care, Louis made it his personal mission to share his medical knowledge with the public.  Given his work commitments it was most amazing to MBC volunteers that he was always willing to make a visit to Canada with no motive other than to increase knowledge and awareness of multiple birth issues.  Louis had such a dynamic and outgoing personality that all who met him took notice when he spoke and sparked change in views regarding multiple pregnancy and birth. Here are just a few of his accomplishments in the field of multiples:

Louis was a great support to MBC’s (formerly POMBA Canada) founder, the late Sheryl McInnes. Back in 1982, he and his brother Donald, joined efforts to produce one of MBC’s first publications – Breastfeeding twins, triplets and quadruplets: 195 Practical Hints for Success.  Louis urged MBC through our founder Sheryl to join the International Society for Twin Studies.

Louis and Donald shared their expertise and sense of humour with MBC families in 1986, when they were keynote speakers at the MBC National Conference in London, Ontario.  Along the way, Louis became one of the more active members of the MBC Advisory Board and provided guidance on a variety of National Multiple Birth Awareness Day themes.  Louis served on MBC’s Advisory Board for over 30 years, always willing to edit and contribute to the development of our publications.

In 1990 he was a guest on a Canadian CTV talk show – The Shirley Show – raising awareness of the implications of assisted reproductive technologies on the population boom of triplets, quadruplets and more. He arranged for a Canadian expert on ARTs, Dr. Albert Yuzpe, to join him on the expert panel.  The parent panel included MBC national volunteer, Donna and Dave Launslager, and their quadruplets.

In the 1990’s, Louis and his brother Donald, networked with other international experts to establish the Council of Multiple Birth Organizations, an arm of the International Society for Twin Studies.  Prior to that, ISTS was a scientific research organization focused on research using twins as their control group to study general health issues.  Louis and other international experts (i.e. Dr. Elizabeth Bryan, Patricia Malmstrom) joined forces to broaden the purpose of ISTS to include research on multiple pregnancy, birth and parenting.

In 2000, he served on a working group to establish the SOGC’s (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada) Consensus Statement on the Management of Multiple Pregnancy. This work sparked the interest of Dr. Jon Barrett to form a multiple pregnancy clinic in Toronto.  

Louis encouraged and supported younger doctors in obstetrics to take an interest in multiple pregnancy and birth, including the world famous Dr. Isaac Blickstein (Israel), Dr. Barbara Luke (USA) as well as Canadian experts Dr. Jon Barrett and Dr. Geoffrey Machin.  

In 2005, he invited Donna Launslager, MBC’s Health & Education Group Chair, and mother of quadruplets to write a chapter in his book Multiple Pregnancy: Epidemiology, Gestation and Perinatal Outcome that he and Dr. Isaac Blickstein published – 976 pages of articles by medical experts worldwide on many aspects of multiple pregnancy and birth.

In 2006, Donald and Louis Keith gave a keynote address at the MBC National Conference in Chatham, Ontario.  At this conference, MBC awarded Louis and Donald with the Adult “Dionne” Making a Difference Award.  This honour recognized their work in establishing The Center for the Study of Multiple Birth (a non-profit organization created in 1977 for research, education, and public service in twin studies), publishing or supporting the publication of many articles and books relating to multiple births, holding the position of Co-Presidents of the International Society for Twin Studies, and being a driving force behind the Annual Twinsburg Ohio twin festival.  

In 2010, at the International Congress on Twin Studies in Seoul, South Korea, Louis and Donald found time to attend the International Council of Multiple Birth Organization (ICOMBO) Business Meeting.  They were vocal in their support and applauded the final version of the MBC-led update of the Declaration of Rights and Statement of Needs of Twins and Higher Order Multiples. 

The most recent work to impact MBC and multiple-birth parents in Canada and around the world was Donald and Louis’ work in the area of Post Partum Hemorrhage with a survey they developed to study this topic further. The results were presented at the 2012 Congress in Italy and used to help update a Post Partum Hemorrhage text book Louis helped author and used in his lectures with medical students.

MBC was honoured to have Louis as a champion of our work.  His mentorship was always available, regardless of how busy or how far away he was travelling.  He was a strong communicator, a kindred spirit, and a fine person who will be greatly missed.  Thank you for having shared your wisdom and encouragement with us, Louis. 

Posted by Lori Oldfield on September 12, 2014

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