Longtime UHMS member Dr. George Hart died peacefully on Sept. 26 with Sarah, his wife of 60 years, his five children and extended family at his side.

George ‘Babe’ Hart, M.D., FACS, was a giant in hyperbaric medicine, a thoracic, vascular and trauma surgeon as well as an expert in diving medicine. He received his specialty training in the U.S Navy, where he became the Director of Clinical Services and Chief of Surgery at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. He retired after 20 years of active duty as a captain.

In 1974 Dr. Hart established the Hyperbaric Medicine Program at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Long Beach, California. Under his stewardship, the program gained worldwide recognition as a preeminent center for clinical expertise, research and educational programs. Dr. Hart made innumerable contributions to hyperbaric medicine, including defining the appropriate uses of hyperbaric oxygen, establishing chamber safety protocols with the National Fire Protection Agency and refining the monoplace chamber to the modern counterparts universally used today. He also set the standard for treatment protocols for the clinical uses of hyperbaric oxygen as well as generating more than 100 published articles and almost a dozen book chapters. Dr. Hart has received almost every award that exists in the field of hyperbaric medicine, including serving as the keynote speaker at the 2013 Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society meeting.

Dr. Hart’s presentations, which account to more than a thousand, have always been characterized by wit, enthusiasm, personal experiences and sound scientific data. Many of his observations and theories about how hyperbaric oxygen works are just now being verified with advancing scientific information. Dr. Hart was truly a giant in his field, known for his contributions to hyperbaric medicine, highly respected by his colleagues at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and much loved by his patients and the people with whom he worked.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations in Dr. Hart’s memory be made to the Memorial Medical Center Foundation Hyperbaric Medicine Fund (www.memorialcare.org/mmcf) or to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (please contact the Executive Office to donate).

Long Beach Memorial Medical Center will hold a memorial service on October 21 at 2pm.

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