Doctor George Geroe, distinguished and beloved GP and surgeon who spent over four decades practicing at Castlemaine Health, died peacefully surrounded by family on 27 February 2019.
George Geroe was born on 16 February 1930 to Vilmos and Clara Lazar Geroe. Clara Geroe , also known as Dr Geroe, was herself a highly regarded psychoanalyst renowned for bringing to the establishment of psychoanalysis in Australia the experience of its beginnings in Central Europe.
Dr George Geroe epitomised the role of a traditional GP. He was very much an ‘all-rounder’ in the style of GP that is far less common today. Not only did he work as the family doctor but he excelled at surgery, from pinning fractured hips to hernias, gallbladders, appendices and the occasional bowel resection. He was also exceedingly competent as an anaesthetist and obstetrician.
He began working at Castlemaine District Community Hospital (which became Mount Alexander Hospital, then Castlemaine Health) in 1958. Back then, being a visiting medical officer came with an onerous on-call commitment. Even when Dr Geroe was not on call as a GP, he remained on call for surgery and anaesthetics. Unlike today, the theatre could operate any day or night of the week. Dr Geroe was often called in for emergency surgery to set fractures or manage any other surgical emergency at hand. He was also prison doctor for the Old Castlemaine Gaol and Loddon Prison for a significant period of time.
Dr Geroe was very much the gentleman, and treated everyone, no matter their position or standing, with care and respect. He was held in high regard by his nursing and medical colleagues, and beloved by his patients. One of Dr Geroe’s many endearing features was a well-developed sense of humour and a dry wit, and many of his sayings are still repeated by staff in the wards at Castlemaine Health.
Both Dr Geroe and his wife Ann, who passed away in 2015, were renowned for their generosity and hospitality. Both were great lovers of music and art. They were strong supporters and benefactors of the gallery and arts in Castlemaine. Ann Geroe was herself a highly-regarded ceramicist whose work is held in, amongst other places, the National Gallery of Victoria.
In 2003, Mount Alexander Hospital celebrated 150 years of service to the community. As part of the celebration, on 23 May 2003 the Governor of Victoria John Landy AC CVO MBE FTSE, formally recognised Dr Geroe’s long-standing contribution to the hospital and community. In a ceremony at the Castlemaine Town Hall, Dr Geroe was appointed Consultant Emeritus General Practitioner in recognition of his 45 years of contribution to the hospital. As a further testament, the hospital’s Acute Ward was renamed the Geroe Unit in his honour.
To this day, Castlemaine Health’s Acute ward is known Geroe Unit. It continues to be a place of great care and compassion as it was in Dr Geroe’s time. The Board of Management, staff and volunteers, many of worked with Dr Geroe, would like to express our heartfelt thanks for his enormous contribution to Castlemaine Health. He will always be fondly remembered and honoured by us all.
Our thoughts are with Dr Geroe’s children Rena and Steve, and granddaughters Lizzie and Alex.