Ralph M. Tovell, M.D.*
RALPH M. TOVELL, M.D.
Ralph M. Tovell, M.D., was president of the ASA in 1941.
He was born in Sydenham, Ontario, Canada, and was a graduate of Queens University in
Kingston, Ontario, which awarded him the degrees of M.D., C.M., in 1926. His internship and
residency training were received at General Hospital in Kingston, at the Lying-In Hospital in
New York City, and at the Mayo Clinic. In 1939, he received the degree of M.S. (Anesthesia)
from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Tovell served as assistant professor of anesthesia at the Mayo Clinic from 1933 to 1936,
when he moved to Hartford, Connecticut.
He was on the visiting staff of Hartford Hospital and was chairman of its research committee.
Other appointments in the hospital included member of the chest group, chief of the shock team,
chairman of the therapeutics committee, member of the executive committee of the staff, and
member of the medical records committee.
Dr. Tovell was a lecturer in anesthesiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr.
Tovell also served for many years as consulting anesthesiologist at Manchester Memorial
Hospital, the Institute of Living, the Newington Home and Hospital for Crippled Children,
McCook Memorial Hospital, Wm. W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, and the Middlesex Memorial
Hospital in Middletown.
He was a member of the International Anesthesia Research Society. Dr. Tovell also served as
president of the Academy of Anesthesiology and president of the American Board of
A member of the subcommittee on anesthesia of the National Research Council and chairman of
the joint committee on Anesthesia Hazards, Dr. Tovell was also chairman of the Board of Chief
Consultants of the Veterans Administration and of the armed services committee of the
American Society of Anesthesiologists.
Dr. Tovell was an honorary fellow of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and
Ireland, an honorary member of the Royal Society of Medicine (Section of Anaesthesiology), a
fellow of the faculty of the Royal College of Surgeons, a consultant in anesthesiology to the
Veterans Administration and to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and a member of the
committee on Hospital Operating Rooms of the National Fire Prevention Association.
He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in December of 1940. In 1942, he entered
the United States Army and served as senior consultant in anesthesiology in the European
Theater for three years. He earned promotion to the rank of colonel.
Dr. Tovell’s honors include the Bronze Star, the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Francaise, the
Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Service Award of the American Society of Anesthesiologists,
Frederic Hewitt lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, and the Horace Wells Club
of Connecticut, First Award.
The author of 125 papers, Dr. Tovell served as associate editor of Anesthesiology from 1940 to
1955, when he became editor.
Anesthesia & Analgesia. 1957;36(3).