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George Harpur

Director-at-Large 2016-2018

George D. Harpur M.D. C.C.F.P., F.C.F.P. started diving at age 14 doing construction in the Muskoka lakes with home made apparatus and miraculously survived to graduate from University of Toronto with a medical degree in 1964.

Worked at the Defense and Civilian Institute of Environmental Medicine to 1968 engaged in personnel applied research in diving and high altitude chambers during the early trials of the Kidd Stubbs model that lead to the Canadian Forces Diving Tables.
In 1967 qualified as a ship’s diving officer, the first Air Force officer to do so and shortly thereafter sustained a number of “hits” (DCS) while one of the guinea pigs in the trials.
Left the Forces in 1969 to do general practice anesthesia and family medicine in Huntsville Ontario and was appointed a coroner in the province of Ontario. While there he qualified as a Scuba instructor with both the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and the Association of Canadian Underwater Councils (ACUC).

He received certification as a Diving Medical Officer from the School of Operational and Aerospace Medicine, Canadian Forces in 1975 and became the Medical director of the new Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility and Guest lecturer Of the Can. Forces courses for Diving Medicine 1976 to the present. He has been involved in the investigation of numerous diving accidents including 48 fatalities in Ontario and 29 in scattered jurisdictions from Barbados and Australia to Alaska.

Dr Harpur collaborated with Dr Ray Sawchuck to produce the protocol for post mortem on victims of diving accidents adopted by Ont. Coroner’s service. His special interest has been the management of diving emergencies and improving diving training so as to avoid them. Lecturing on defensive diving techniques and the field management of incidents are things he is still engaged in providing support to the O.P.P.’s dive team (U.S.R.U.), Parks Canada’s underwater archeology service (U.A.S.) and Dundee Energy’s Ontario operations.

A member of UHMS since 1974 and a Charter member of the Canadian Chapter of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society and Hon, past President, he now serves on the board of directors as the member at large.