Date of issue: May 29, 2000
Michel Sarrazin was born in 1659 in Nuits-sous-Beaune, France. After receiving training as a surgeon, he traveled to New France where he was named Surgeon Major to the King’s troops in 1685. In addition to this work, he treated civilians at the Hotel-Dieu Hospitals in both Montreal and Quebec. Sarrazin is believed to have performed the first mastectomy in North America in 1700; remarkably, the woman survived the operation and lived another 39 years.
In addition to his medical work, Sarrazin was an ardent naturalist who gathered and catalogued numerous native Quebec plants. His botanical knowledge led him to function as an apothecary as well as a physician. The Michel Sarrazin Award is given annually by the Club de Recherches Clinique du Québec to a Quebec scientist in recognition of outstanding contributions to biomedical research. Sarrazin died in Quebec in 1734.
The Commemorative Envelope
A commemorative envelope was issued by Canada Post with a stamp showing simply a Canadian flag. The postmark shows an image of the carnivorous pitcher plant, common in Quebec marshes and bogs, and named Sarracenia purpurea by Linnaeus in honor of Sarrazin.