Dr George Vincent Hall (1915 -2009) cardiologist
Dr George Vincent Hall was one of the first doctors to discover cardiomyopathy after researching a series of his patients in the 1950s and 60s. His discovery led to heart transplant surgery in hospitals all over the world. He had a strong faith in the Lord and he often stressed to us, his children, that faith in the Lord was the most important goal to aspire to and treasure.
Anthony Hall (son of George Hall) writes :
“My father was a great man. He was a legend as a doctor, the finest cardiologist Australia ever knew. He and Harry Windsor set up the first cardiac unit in Australia at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney in the 1950s. He looked after many famous people and, in particular, he also looked after the poor and the insignificant as an honorary physician in the days before nationalised medicine.
The Mater Hospital, Crows Nest, Lewisham Hospital, Lewisham, and St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, were the places my father served so well for more than 40 years.
My father adored my mother, Shirley, who passed away in 1996.
He was a man of great wisdom and insight. He was calm under pressure and had a great love of his friends. The great Dr Noel Newton, who died 35 years ago, said to Dad before he died that he was his greatest friend. Dad always said Noel Newton was a saint and the greatest loss to the medical fraternity.
Justin Fleming, the great vascular surgeon who died young, was Dad’s dearest friend and a terrible loss to my father. So, too, were Dr Alan Dwyer, Dr Jim Tudahope, Dr Jim L’Strange, Dr Victor Chang and Dr John O’Neill and so many others. Dad outlived them all but he talked so passionately about these great doctors for many years. My father and these great doctors are irreplaceable; they were a special breed of doctors who dedicated their lives to their patients. They worked long hours and never complained; they were true saints who were loved by so many people.
My father served in World War II as a doctor. He had to leave his wife and two young children to go to Borneo and New Guinea where Australian soldiers fought tenaciously against the Japanese. He was promoted to major after becoming a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians.
After the war he left for England to gain his membership of the Royal College of Physicians. He was away from his family for one year which would have been very hard.
These days doctors in Australia no longer go to England to gain the MRCP. But in Dad’s day to be recognised as a physician you needed your British membership.
In 1974 Dad also gained his FACC, a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and was made a life member of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. He became the youngest dean of St Vincent’s Hospital clinical school and in 1974 was appointed a censor, a member of the examining body of the Australian College of Physicians. This acknowledged his outstanding ability as a physician. He was deputy chairman of St Vincent’s Hospital for several years and senior honorary physician of the hospital for many years.
My father was also a teacher. He taught undergraduate and post-graduate medical students at Sydney University and the University of NSW. His students thought he was a fine teacher, one of the best. He had the largest medical practice in Macquarie St of any doctor during his career, because people loved him and felt very secure in his care.
He was one of the first doctors to discover cardiomyopathy after researching a series of his patients in the 1950s and 60s. His discovery led to heart transplant surgery in hospitals all over the world. He proudly boasted that St Vincent’s has the most successful heart transplant surgery in the world. My father and Harry Windsor trained Victor Chang to become the world renowned heart transplant surgeon. It was Dad’s and Harry Windsor’s work that led to heart transplants in Australia.
Dad was very humble. He never spoke of his achievements and was reluctant to receive honours which he truly deserved. I remember once showing him that he had his name recorded in Who’s Who in the World and he typically brushed it aside as of no significance.
Dad had a strong faith in the Lord and he often stressed to us, his children, that faith in the Lord was the most important goal to aspire to and treasure. He went to Mass often.
As a doctor, he dedicated his skills to the Catholic clergy, cardinals of Sydney, nuns, brothers and priests. His love of the Church was expressed through his medical care of so many of the clergy.
Dad loved sport. He played first grade in cricket and rugby at the Jesuit school, St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point, as a boy and loved talking about the days he saw Sir Donald Bradman bat and Stan McCabe”.
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