When Orléans author and inventor Roy Mayer first penned a book on Canada’s most influential innovators in the late 90s, little did he know that he would one day end up living in the same retirement residence as one of his subjects.
|Author Roy Mayer (right) with Dr. Tofy Mussivand at the Chapel Hill Retirement Residence in Orléans. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
Mayer’s book, entitled “Inventing Canada: One Hundred Years of Innovation”, tells the stories of 32 of the country’s leading inventors and innovators including the father of basketball, James Naismith; Cognos founder Michael Potter; the inventor of the snowmobile Joseph-Armand Bombardier; and Reginald Fessenden who first transmitted voice over radio, or wireless telephony, in 1990, more than a year before Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a wireless telegraph message across the Atlantic.
In a chapter called “Medical Wonders”, Mayer tells the story of Dr. Tofy Mussivand who invented the first implantable artificial heart that took the place of both ventricles in a single device. The Jarvik artificial heart could only replace the function of one or the other ventricle, but not both.
Dr. Mussivand also invented something called the HeartSaver, an artificial cardiac pump that takes over the function of the heart during surgery. To say that the two devices combined saved the lives of thousands of people is no understatement.
Dr. Mussivand immigrated to Canada from Iran in 1965 at the age of 21. After arriving in Canada, he pursued an education in biomedical engineering.
After receiving his PhD, Dr. Mussivand began his exhaustive research in the development of an artificial heart with prolonged operational capability that was small enough to be implanted into a patient’s chest, allowing for their mobility and enhanced quality of life.
He would go on to become chair and director of the Cardiovascular Devices Division at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and head up the Medical Devices Program of both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
Dr. Mussivand moved into the Chapel Hill Retirement Residence last fall. Three months before, Roy Mayer moved into the retirement residence with his wife Lise.
For months, Mayer and Dr. Mussivand were completely unaware that they were living in the same building. They eventually met when a mutual friend, Doug Hayes, put two and two together after reading a copy of the book that Mayer had given him.
“He said, ‘Hey, one of the people in your book just moved in here,’ and then we met face to face. It’s the power of destiny,” says Mayer, who was a successful inventor in his own right. In 1993, he was named International Inventor of the Year south of the border for inventing a product that enabled anglers to colour live bait, making them more attractive to other fish.
You can purchase a copy of "Inventing Canada: One Hundred Years of Innovation" on Amazon.