b.6 August 1923 d.14 January 2015
MB BS Lond(1945) MRCP(1949) MD(1951) FRCP(1974)
Peter Hart was a physician at Brunei General Hospital. He was born in Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Norman de Villiers Hart, a journalist, and Wilhelmina Mary Loy Hart née Cooper. He was educated at Bedford School and then studied medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1945.
He held house posts at North Middlesex County Hospital, and was then a registrar at the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases and the Royal Cancer Hospital, London.
In 1954 he became a specialist physician in Kuala Lumpur, moving to Malacca in 1958. From 1962 he was a physician at Brunei General Hospital; when he started he was the sole specialist for medicine and paediatrics in the country.
He pioneered the modernisation of health services and also established the haemodialysis programme in the late 1960s. He spent six months in London at the Royal Free Hospital to study haemodialysis and then established a dialysis programme in Brunei with a single machine. Hart and the nurses working with the dialysis patients were also responsible for the maintenance of the machine. In every other ward the doctors would ask the nurses how the patients were progressing; on the dialysis ward, Hart would always ask: ‘How is the machine today?’
He also introduced the concept of intensive care and echocardiography to Brunei, and was the first clinician to perform flexible endoscopy there. He published papers in several renowned journals, including the British Medical Journal. Two papers outlined the impact of cholera (‘A cholera epidemic without a hospital death.’ Med J Malaya. 1966 Jun;20:281-3 and ‘Cholera again.’ Br Med J. 1971 Jan 2;1:49).
In 1979 Hart left Brunei to return to the UK. From there he worked in Bahrain for four years. He went back to Brunei in 1986 and set up the Hart Medical Clinic. He finally retired in 2006.
When he is not tending his patients, Hart could be found sailing. The Royal Brunei Yacht Club became a very important part of his life and he committed much of his time to sailing and serving the club. He built his own wooden dinghy in Malacca, Malaysia. He taught himself to sail and then joined races at Malacca and Port Dickson sailing clubs. Hart regularly participated in the Kota Kinabalu Yacht Club racing programme in Sabah and the Borneo Interport Regatta, with him eventually winning the Gaya Island Race in his trusty Javelin.
He was survived by his wife Marianna, his son Nicholas, step-daughter Nonah Sabah and six grandchildren.
[BMJ 2015 350 551 www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h551?hwoasp=authn%3A1429430667%3A1019339%3A1368871828%3A0%3A0%3ADZFELsFS0mBFlVDxCSr7tg%3D%3D – accessed 22 April 2015; The Brunei Times 9 February 2015 www.bt.com.bn/features/2015/02/09/remembering-medical-pioneer – accessed 22 April 2015; Brunei Int Med J. 2011;7:191]
(Volume XII, page web)
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