Dr. John Hagen: A Pioneer in Laparoscopic Surgery and Medical Education

Dr. John Hagen: A Pioneer in Laparoscopic Surgery and Medical Education

Dr. John Hagen, a renowned Canadian surgeon, has left an indelible mark on the field of laparoscopic surgery through his expertise and dedication. Dr. Hagen was inspired by his parents, both renowned doctors, and was destined to make important contributions to the medical world from the day he was born on 7 April 1956 in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, Canada. His whole career in surgery has been marked by excellence, creativity, and a commitment to training the next generation of surgeons.

Early Life & Education

John Hagen’s love for treatments developed early in life thanks to the influence of his parents’ careers as doctors. He began a career of discovery and development after earning his medical degree with honors from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine, in 1979. He completed a mixed internship in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1980 to get international exposure, expanding his views and establishing the groundwork for a worldwide perspective in his medical career.

Driven by a desire to refine his surgical skills and explore the burgeoning field of laparoscopic surgery, Dr. Hagen pursued his general surgery residency at the esteemed Department of Surgery, University of Toronto. He received recognition as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCS(C)) in 1984, demonstrating his proficiency in the field of surgery. He completed an endoscopic program at the Aichi Cancer Centre Hospital in Nagoya, Japan, in 1985. The next year, he sharpened his skills further by enrolling in an endoscopic program at Middlesex Hospital in London, UK.

Career and Contributions

With over 37 years of experience as a staff surgeon at Humber River Regional Hospital (HRH), Dr. John Hagen has left an indelible mark on the institution and the field of laparoscopic surgery. Specializing in laparoscopic surgery and advancing minimally invasive techniques, he has revolutionized surgical interventions and played a pivotal role in obesity treatment as the Surgical Director of Bariatrics at HRH since 2007.

Dr. Hagen, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, has worked relentlessly to train residents and fellows in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. His remarkable teaching and mentoring abilities have garnered him distinction both locally and worldwide, establishing him as a respected figure in the medical field.

Dr. Hagen has held numerous prestigious roles at HRH, including Chief of Surgery, Division Head of General Surgery, and Chief of Staff. These leadership positions, in addition to his clinical and administrative responsibilities, have proved his persistent dedication to patient care and the progress of medical practice.

Beyond his local community, Dr. Hagen has actively engaged in efforts to promote medical education abroad. Organizing and leading seven trips to China, he and a team of North American doctors visit hospitals across the country to provide interactive lecture sessions focusing on teaching laparoscopic colon resections and cholecystectomies. This exchange program also facilitates the sharing of knowledge and skills, with two minimally invasive fellows from Toronto traveling to China and two Chinese surgeons visiting the Humber River for an extended period.

Dr. Hagen’s commitment to humanitarian work is evident through his participation in medical missions to Guatemala with HELPS International. In impoverished and remote areas, he and a dedicated team of volunteers, including surgeons, anesthetists, gynecologists, general practitioners, nurses, translators, and cooks, provide surgical services to those in need. These missions primarily address hernias, as diagnostic capabilities are limited in these underserved regions.

Awards and Recognition

Dr. John Hagen has won the respect and admiration of his peers for his extraordinary contributions to medical education and mentorship. He was named Mentor of the Year – Region 3 (Ontario and Nunavut) by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2014. This prestigious award recognizes his significant impact on the professional development of students, residents, and fellows, as well as his extraordinary abilities as a manager, scholar, and professional. Dr. Hagen’s dedication to surgical education and ability to serve as an exceptional role model set him apart.

“The Sailor”: An Interesting Tale by John Hagen

Dr. John Hagen is also an author who has captivated readers with his book “The Sailor.” This fascinating drama combines two parallel storylines that eventually intersect in surprising ways. The major plot follows Dr. Jeremy Young, the chief of surgery at a big community hospital, and his encounter with Dr. Julian Yacoby, a disturbed orthopedic surgeon.

As Dr. Young grapples with maintaining order and discipline among his surgical staff, he must navigate the challenges posed by Dr. Yacoby’s disruptive behavior. Dr. Young is also a keen sailor, routinely competing in club racing events on Lake Ontario. A collision between his sailboat and a J35 sailboat during a disastrous race puts in motion an investigation that threatens to wreck Jeremy’s life. The effects of this incident far surpass Jeremy’s expectations, forcing him to reconsider his conduct and face personal and professional consequences.

“The Sailor” digs into the complexities of human behavior, investigating the impact of personal difficulties on professional life. Dr. Young must manage the repercussions of the sailing tragedy while retaining his integrity, motivated by a passion for excellence and the pursuit of high standards in the medical sector. The interconnecting experiences of these flawed yet likable characters keep readers intrigued in John Hagen’s thought-provoking book. Will Dr. Young be able to restore order and discipline to his surgical department? How would he deal with the fallout from the sailing accident while maintaining his professional standing? In this engrossing and intriguing story, you’ll find the answers.


Dr. John Hagen’s exceptional career as a Canadian surgeon has been characterized by breakthrough contributions to laparoscopic surgery, a continuous devotion to medical education, and a genuine commitment to humanitarian activity. His knowledge, mentoring, and leadership have earned him the respect and affection of both colleagues and pupils. Dr. Hagen’s engaging work, “The Sailor,” demonstrates his talent as a writer, enthralling readers with its interconnecting narratives and thought-provoking ideas. Dr. John Hagen continues to inspire and create a lasting mark on the world with his significant impact on the medical industry and his ability to engage audiences through his writing.

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