Born in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Henry Norman Bethune (1890–1939) was a physician, surgeon and politician. His experiences as a tuberculosis patient and as a surgeon at Montréal’s Royal Victoria Hospital fostered his commitment to accessible medical care, for which he was renowned. Although Bethune pioneered a number of surgical treatments for tuberculosis, he grew increasing interested in the social and economic aspects of the disease. Bethune’s commitment to free medical care for all led him to become a leading member of the Communist Party and to provide medical care to communist fighters in the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and in the Sino-Japanese War in 1938. Although Bethune died of blood poisoning in China before Canada implemented medicare, his arguments for universal access to medical care contributed to its eventual development.